• Resplendence: The importance of strategic satoriality and the role of Aṣọ òkè in the culture of the Yorùbá of south western Nigeria

Bankole-Race, Enitan, 2024, Thesis, Resplendence: The importance of strategic satoriality and the role of Aṣọ òkè in the culture of the Yorùbá of south western Nigeria MPhil thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

There are certain factors that ensure the preservation and significance of Aṣọ òkè in the Yorùbá understanding of resplendence: the most important of these is that it is still considered important to wear traditional attire at milestone occasions like weddings, investitures, and funerals, and aṣọ òkè is reserved for special occasions where formal or elevated dressing is required. This is the reason why the Yorùbá say 'aṣọ l'a ńkí ki a tó kí ènìyàn' 'one salutes the cloth(es) before greeting the wearer'. My research examines the phenomenon of resplendence as it presents in Yorùbá culture, specifically through the use this pre-eminent prestige cloth of the Yorùbá.

The axiological empirical study focused on upper and upper-middle class Yorùbá living in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, using their sociality as a prism to extrapolate contemporary resplendence manifestation among the Yorùbá. It explores the centrality of resplendence to the core value-system of the Yorùbá of western Nigeria: how strategic sartoriality informs and is informed by concepts of morality, traditional religious beliefs, kinship and beauty. My research includes an exploration of the employment of ‘skilled vision’ in the understanding of this sartorial appreciation and in the transposition of roles in relation to typical western hierarchies of creative production, as the weavers' status remains as artisan while the 'accomplished' wearer of aṣọ òkè is elevated to artist.

I believe that my research offers an opportunity to produce a cohesive body of knowledge on the phenomenon of resplendence and the concept of strategic sartoriality as practiced and manifested within contemporary Yorùbá society. This will extend the current knowledge regarding the inter-relationship of the Yorùbá value-system and sensibility and its traditional textiles while congruently exploring the socio-psychological impact of the continuation of the phenomenon in a postmodern age. This context is rife with non-cultural distractions and competition, including facing the impact of COVID pandemic realities. The research undertakes a multi-method approach through the following research questions:

What is the significance of the concepts of Resplendence and strategic sartoriality in Yorùbá culture? How do integral cultural signifiers survive contemporisation and continue to retain their specific cultural symbolism and meaning?

What are the dichotomies of cultural gender expectations within this society and are they viewed as onerous or positively assistive? How are any gendered inequalities or inequities of socio-cultural pressure manifested, and what mechanisms are employed to negotiate these pressures?

What are the psycho-social armatures that support the continued expectation of strategic sartoriality and the manifestation of resplendence?

What has been COVID 19’s impact on this milieu and the practice of resplendence? What factors militated against seizing the opportunity the pandemic presented for a societal recalibration regarding resplendence?

Why would a society (or individual) persist in the practice of a retrogressive version of resplendence even when the practice is apparently inimical and counterproductive to societal and individual wellbeing?

The study also offers the opportunity to provide a contemporary account drawn during the COVID era, exploring circumstances under which cultures may appear to work against their own societal wellbeing or interest.

In this research I coined the term ‘strategic sartoriality’, which is the intentional targeting of attire and adornment in order to manipulate situations, as well as the word 'psychosphere,' which I use to describe the psycho-cultural social milieu in which this behaviour and the study takes place.

Qualification Name: MPhil
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W900 Others in Creative Arts and Design
School or Centre: School of Arts & Humanities
Funders: Techne
Uncontrolled Keywords: Strategic Sartoriality; Resplendence; Psychosphere; Yorùbá; Aṣọ òkè
Date Deposited: 01 May 2024 13:56
Last Modified: 01 May 2024 13:56
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/5837
Edit Item (login required) Edit Item (login required)