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Sociology Research


Muhammed is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge. His research is situated in the cluster of technology and society, with attention to the politics of knowledge production in Africa, using Nigeria as a case study. Specifically, his research focuses on the use of social media and digital technologies for civic and political discourse by exploring the dynamics of online social capital and its intersection with existing forms of inequalities in the country. Through his research, Muhammed hopes to critically examine and contribute to existing epistemological frameworks around the use of social media and citizenship in Nigeria and Africa at large.

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, which was a continuation of the 2003 Johannesburg City Safety Strategy (JCSS). 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.

Besides his research experience, Muhammed has worked in the public sector for two years as a Press & Public Relations Assistant at the Lagos State Governor’s Parastatals Monitoring Office (PMO). He has also worked as a Government and External Relations Executive for a leading sustainability-focused NGO in West Africa.

Research Interests

  • digital sociology
  • sociology of knowledge
  • digital economy
  • online ethnography
  • qualitative methodologies
  • social theory
  • media ethics
  • critical data & media studies
  • media theory
  • mediation
  • sociology of human rights
  • sociology of data
  • international development
  • technology policy;


Tutorials – Principles of Sociology (SOC 101), Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Ibadan (2017-2019).

Tutorials - Introduction to Social Institutions (SOC 103), Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Ibadan (2017-2019).

Supervision – SOC3: Control and Resistance in Digital Societies


Alakitan, M. (2023, October 27). Are current AI regulations enough to protect Social Media Influencers? Dataphyte.

Alakitan, M. (2023). Bans, Gender, Unpaid Labour, and Surveillance: Precarities of Nigerian Twitter Influencer Entrepreneurship. In Book of Abstracts XX ISA World Congress of Sociology (pp. 19). 

Alakitan, M. (2023). Ethics, Context, and Fabrication: Doing Social Media Ethnography in Nigeria. In Book of Abstracts XX ISA World Congress of Sociology (pp. 19).

Alakitan. M.(2022) Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) and COVID-19 Pandemic in Africa: Special Focus on Control Strategies. In Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening (pp 2387-2390)

Alakitan. M (2014) Directory of Parastatal Organisations and Government Owned Companies & General Hospitals in Lagos State. 

PhD Supervisor

Dr Ella McPherson

Research Groups & Affiliations


Cambridge (Enhanced Funding Scheme) Researcher-led Events Award · Jan 2024

Awarded in support of a research and workshop on AI and platforms in West Africa


United Africa Company – UAC of Nigeria Travel Fund · Mar 2023

Awarded in support of postgraduate research focused on Nigeria


Terence Ranger Prize for an Outstanding Dissertation - Issued by African Studies Centre, University of Oxford · Jul 2022

Faculty Prize - Issued by University of Ibadan · Nov 2019
An annual prize awarded by the Senate on the recommendation of the Faculty board, to the best final-year student.

The Okediji Memorial Prize in Sociology – Issued by Department of Sociology, University of · Nov 2019
An annual prize awarded to the best final-year student in Sociology.


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