Inge Ligtvoet MA

Inge Ligtvoet studied African Studies at Leiden University. She graduated in 2011 with her thesis ‘Fear and Faith: Uncertainty, misfortune and spiritual insecurity in Calabar, Nigeria’. She carried out research in Calabar during a seven month fieldwork period in 2010-2011. The thesis addresses the phenomenon of witchcraft in the context of a society that is confronted with sociopolitical uncertainties and fear.

Currently, Inge is working as a PhD student in the research programme Connecting in Times of Duress, on a sub-project that focuses on urban (middle class) youth in southern Nigeria. The project, provisionally entitled ‘Between expectations and opportunities: urban youth navigating duress in a globalized southern Nigeria’ looks at the ways in which these youth navigate their lives in a context of long-term socioeconomic uncertainty and political insecurity. Key to understanding this navigation, is the (global) connectedness of these young Nigerians through local networks and global connectivity, through ‘old’ and new ICTs. Being increasingly connected means changing expectations, but also changing opportunities. In a context of duress, where the state is absent in providing basic needs, security and infrastructure, and where traditional and modern expectations collide, Nigerian youth has to creatively adopt ways of securing (improved) futures for themselves and their families. They are using their online and offline networks in inventive ways to work themselves up the social ladder, for example by setting up small scale businesses or building up a political career.

Mobile internet and the social media play an important role, not only in the ways in which youth use them to their future advantage practically. It’s also arguably essential for young Nigerians to inform themselves about and cope with uncertainty and insecurity in the country: a crucial aspect in dealing with the complexity of everyday life in urban centers in Nigeria’s south. Religion and humor are examples of discourses through which duress is emotionally digested and which grasp the soul of long-term endurance of societal uncertainties. This research argues that these media and these discourses on duress shape youth’s decision-making in contemporary southern Nigeria in new, inventive ways.

For this research, Inge has conducted 14 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Nigeria between 2013 and 2015, during which she also wrote a blog. Her main research field is Enugu in the southeast of Nigeria, but she has done a smaller part of her fieldwork in Calabar (south south) and Ibadan (southwest). This project is supervised by Prof. dr. Mirjam de Bruijn (Leiden University) and Prof. dr. Oka Obono (University of Ibadan).

CTD publications by Inge Ligtvoet:

Book chapters:

  • Ligtvoet, I. & M. de Goede (2018), ‘Fields of Insecurity: Responding to flows of information’ in: B. C. Browne & A-M Rivas (eds.), Experiences in Researching Conflict and Violence. Fieldwork Interrupted, Policy Press.


  • Ligtvoet, I., ‘Comic relief and everyday resistance: Humour and duress in Nigeria’s on/offline discourses on hardship’, CTD conference, N’Djaména, 25-28 October 2017.
  • Ligtvoet, I. & M. E. de Bruijn, ‘Information biographies: A proposal/method to discover the world beyond the hashtag’, paper presented at Social Media in Africa Symposium, University of Edinburgh, 26-27 April 2017.
  • Ligtvoet, I., ‘Mocking the First Lady Online. Social media, humour and the creation of public opinion in Nigeria and beyond’, Workshop Oxford, 16 November 2015.
  • Ligtvoet, I., ‘Na only you waka come?’ – Laughter as resistance in Nigerians’ online and offline discourses on ‘crisis’, ECAS, Paris, 8-10 July 2015.
  • Ligtvoet, I., ‘The Divine Connection: Pentecostal Navigation through Nigerian and Cameroonian Society under Duress, 1960 – 2015’, Paper ESTER conference, Verona, 12-14 November 2013.
  • Ligtvoet, I., ‘Religious transformations and the preservation of witchcraft discourse in Calabar, Nigeria’, Paper Conference Calabar, 23-25 April 2013.


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