Ghana’s vibrant capital city Accra is a fascinating intricate of ethnic diversity and a developing centre for aesthetic cultures.

Accra, which is situated along the Gulf of Guinea, has a lengthy history, a diverse population, and a distinctive fusion of tradition and modernity that have formed its unique position as a periphery hub to a variety of local and global beauty standards. With a population of more than 1.4 million (GSS, 2021 PHC). Accra has a mixture of beauty cultures that incorporate both historical traditions and modern influences including clothing, hair style, skin colour, face, body shape, etc. The city’s tech-savvy population has embraced platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and X to showcase, challenge, and reshape beauty norms. Social media serves as a virtual space where traditional and contemporary beauty ideals are exchanged, critiqued, and redefined and Accra is not an exception to this.

The diverse neighbourhoods of the city form a nuanced lens through which to examine how beauty standards are established and upheld. The socioeconomic diversity of Accra and the interaction of many ethnicities offer a nuanced perspective on how beauty has become an asset, and as a place where identifications and classifications are made. Therefore, the city’s status as a peripheral hub to beauty cultures, is a captivating subject of study.

In this PhD project, Emmanuel Narh will investigate four distinct but related cases to see how beauty standards are used to create identifications and classifications and how these as cultural processes lead to symbolic boundaries and inequalities in both online and offline places in Accra.

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