Muhammed Alakitan

Student Fellow

BIOGRAPHY

Muhammed (‘Kitan) is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge. His research focuses on the use of social media and digital technologies for civic and political discourse in Nigeria by exploring the dynamics of online social capital and its intersection with existing forms of inequalities in the country.

Muhammed’s PhD research builds on his MSc Studies at Oxford’s African Studies Centre, where he did an online ethnographic study that engaged with the practices of Nigerian Twitter influencers as a case study to explain the opportunities and challenges of the digital economy in Nigeria and Africa. He explored the nature of online work by influencers through the theories of affective labour and identity entrepreneurship, thereby contributing new insights into the influencer culture on Nigerian Twitter. His research won the 2022 Terence Ranger Prize for the best dissertation in African Studies.

Before Oxford, Muhammed had completed an MPhil programme at the Centre of Development Studies, Cambridge. His research focused on the political economy of the internet, social media, and digital technologies in Africa and how they reproduce racial power relations. As a case study, he investigated embedded algorithmic biases in the technologies adopted as part of the 2016 Johannesburg’s ‘Safe City’ initiative. His findings concluded that the discussion of ‘Africa technological leapfrogging’ may sometimes obscure relevant pathways for digital industrialisation in Africa. Muhammed did his undergraduate studies in Sociology at the University of Ibadan, where he graduated as the best student in the Faculty of the Social Sciences, winning 14 awards in all.

At LCFI, his research will focus on AI, platforms, and influencership in Nigeria.

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Muhammed Alakitan