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This study explored the social spaces in Hausa communal setting from the perspective of social actors in tea shops in Samaru Community, Kaduna State. To achieve the objectives of this study, one main research question and four sub-questions were raised and answered. The main research question was; what types of social spaces for information activities exist in Samaru Community? The sub-questions were: what information activities occurred in teashops in Samaru Community, who are the social actors involved in information activities in tea shops in Samaru Community, what were the topics of discourse in tea shops in Samaru Community during the period of study in Samaru Community (2016-2018) and how did the propositions of Information Grounds Theory describe social spaces and the actions of individuals in Samaru Community? Information Grounds Theory was adopted for the study and a Case Study research design was employed. Participant observation was carried out in the tea shops to ascertain and redesign the interview protocol and to have a feel of the study setting. Qualitative Data was collected using in-depth interview. A sample of 12 participants was used for the study. However, only 10 participants‟ narratives were used for analysis. The data was analysed using Qualitative Content Analysis. Seven typologies of Social Spaces were identified by participants of this study; Fast-Food Businesses, Non-Food Related Businesses, Discussion/Relaxation Spaces, Venues for Ceremonies, Commercial Transport Stations, Health Care Centres and Office Spaces.

Findings of the study also indicated that four out of the seven propositions of the Information Grounds theory described the typologies of Social Spaces in Samaru Community; the Temporal Setting proposition, the Actor/Social types proposition, the Social Interaction proposition and the Formal and Informal Information Sharing proposition. In addition, the Alternative forms of information use proposition and the context rich propositions explained the actions of individuals in tea houses in Samaru Community. The study recommended that the dynamics of inter subjective in small worlds should be considered during the design of information geared at information diffusion and exchange. The study also recommended that social spaces should be used as a channel for information diffusion because people trust information emanating from such spaces.











1.1 Background to the Study

Social spaces are birthplaces for social and collective action (Foucault, 1984; Lefebvre, 1996). They are physical or virtual sites for social life where people meet and interact (Lefebvre, 1991). This interaction shapes the actions and behaviours of people who visit these spaces. A significant part of human behaviour that is shaped by these spaces is their information behaviour. According to Hartel, Cox & Griffin

(2016), information behaviour typically manifests as information activities. Information activities are processes performed that are aimed at the manipulation of information (Hektor, 2001). These spaces are sites for information activities like information seeking, sharing, verifying and utilization (Hektor, 2001; Hartel, Cox & Griffin, 2016). These information activities form the basis for social and collective actions.

Studies have documented the typologies of Social spaces and the activities undertaken in the social spaces in the context of developed societies (Bourdieu, 1985; Fisher, Landry and Naumer, 2006; Babere, 2015; Rohman and Pang, 2015; Steigemann, 2017). These studies highlighted the role of social spaces in behaviour and group formation; information diffusion and sharing; and structuring the society into social categories. These spaces decide the group individuals belong to (Bourdieu, 1985), the information activities that take place in the group and collective actions group members take (Burnett and Jaeger, 2008). In some cases, these groups become violent groups like Boko Haram, ISIS, the Taliban, Al-Qaeda (Martin, 2017).

However, little is known about social spaces in the context of developing countries.

Specifically, little is known about the typologies of social spaces, social actors, the information activities and the topics of discourse in these social spaces as explicated in the notions of habitus (Bourdieu, 1989), lifeworld (Husserl, 1982), and frame of reference (Parson, 1968).

Social Spaces: Habitus, Lifeworld and Frame of Reference

The notions of habitus (Bourdieu, 1989), lifeworld and frame of reference all act as cognitive filters that shapes the collective dispositions, perceptions, preferences and interpretations of social groups in social spaces. They provide mental structure, the environment and the frame respectively for individuals in every community to help acquire, sort and aggregate their understanding towards taking a particular course of social and collective action.


Social space is closely related to the notion of habitus (Bourdieu, 1989). Habitus is a social and cultural system of thinking and perception that guides action. It produces the common sense that individuals in a particular social world use in apprehending situations and events in their everyday life, (Hilgers, 2009; Walther, 2014). The individual perceives, understands, evaluates, adapts, and acts in a situation according to his or her habitus. The habitus is durable but evolving and is continually adjusted to the current context and reinforced by further experience (Mayrhofer et al., 2007). Habitus accounts for the tendency of people from the same area to always act the same way in similar situations (Rehbein, 2011).


Lifeworld (Husserl, 1982) is closely knitted to the notions of habitus. It is the everyday world that individuals share with others. It is through Lifeworld that individuals in a particular social space are able to construct common understandings of the social world. It is therefore the sphere where individuals lead their social and personal lives. It is where shared meanings and understandings that enable us to perform actions are constructed, (Habermas, 1987).

Frame of Reference

Similar to the notions of Habitus and Lifeworld, Frame of Reference (Parson, 1968) are socially constructed filters by which individuals interpret and engage in situational meaning making and problem solving as a part of their lived experience in a particular social space (Taylor, 2017). It is composed of two dimensions; Habit of Mind (Mezirow, 2000; Wofford, 2011) and Point of view (Wofford, 2011). Habit of Mind are the habitual ways of thinking among social groups in particular social spaces, while Point of View are beliefs, attitudes and values that are derived from habits of minds that shape interpretations of lived experiences. It is through an individual‟s frame of reference that sensory inputs are filtered supported by habit of mind resulting in interpretations, judgments and actions (Marsick, 2009). The interpretations, judgments and actions then add up to develop the individual‟s point of view. An individual‟s frame of reference shapes his/her foundational understanding of problems, situations and events that are encountered as a part of daily life.

                  1.1.2      Background Information on Samaru Community, Kaduna State

Samaru is an urban settlement within Zazzau Emirate. It is located approximately on latitudes 110ᴼ 10‟ and 110ᴼ 11‟North and longitudes 07ᴼ 37‟ and 70ᴼ 40‟` East. It is situated in Sabon-Gari Local Government Area located between Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (ABU, Zaria), Basawa and Bomo (Fig 1). The origin of Samaru is although traced to a primordial stream with a tree in a place known as Gangan Uku or old Samaru, its expansion started with the establishment of the Nigerian College of Art, Science and Technology in 1951(Nyagba, 2009). Later in 1962 the college was transformed to Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) and this led to a rapid influx of people into the area for both educational and occupational reasons. Other institutions like Nigerian Institute for Leather and Science Technology, Zaria now located in Samaru has led to further increase in population (Junaid, 2016). Samaru has a climate similar to

Zaria with a distinct variation in rainy and dry seasons (Sawa and Abdulhamid, 2009).

Samaru is predominantly residential and it includes the settlement behind the rail line to Kaura Namoda known as HayinDogo.


Fig. 1.1: Map of Samaru Source: Modified from Google earth map of Samaru, 2018 



Human Activities

Samaru evolved from a small colonial farming settlement to become a large community, a melting-pot, often referred to as “the University village” (Junaid, 2016). Samaru is considered a centre of Hausa agriculture. It is a market town for the surrounding area. It is the home of numerous artisans, from traditional crafts like leather work, dyeing and cap making, to tinkers, print shops and furniture makers (Girhing, 1984).

Mai-Shayi business was introduced into Samaru by Nigerien nationals who came to Nigeria in search of menial jobs. The business started with these tea sellers roaming the streets with locally made Kettles. As the business started booming, operators started opening shops at street corners. The first tea shop was opened by Dan-Borno along Kasuwan Dare, the intersection between Iya Road and Galadima Road. This was in early 1960s. At about the same Mal. Idi mai-tea opened his tea shop opposite Dan borno. The next tea shop that opened in Samaru in 1970 was Mal. Halilu mai-tea shop also at Kasuwan Dare. This was because at that time, Kasuwan Dare was the centre of commerce in Samaru. Mal. Mustapha mai-tea opened his tea shop in the early 1980s along Ali Manchester Street. Mal. Mustapha was a Nigerien National. The next tea shop that opened and is still in operation is the Mal. Nuhu‟s tea shop in front of Rez inn adjacent Diamond Bank. It opened in the early 1990s. From there on many smaller tea shops started opening in Samaru Community (A. Liman, personal communication, 11th September, 2018). (See Appendix VI for the list of Tea shops and their years of establishment)



1.2 Statement of the Problem

Studies in developed countries (Counts and Fisher, 2010; Williamson and Roberts, 2010; Yeh, 2013; Babere, 2015; Rohman and Pang, 2015; Steigemann, 2017) have stressed the importance of Social spaces in behaviour development, actions/inactions of individuals and information activities like information sharing and diffusion (Fisher, Landry and Naumer, 2006). These studies are particularly critical as they highlight the role of these spaces in shaping perceptions, values, worldviews and dispositions of individuals based on interactive discourses (Gripsrud, 2002). Social spaces are avenues for shaping perceptions, values, preferences, dispositions and are places for cognitive development for groups or subgroups in social context (King, 2000; Feldman, 2016; Wang and Wang, 2017). One of these social spaces that has extensively been captured in literature in Western cultures is the tea/coffee shops (Felton, 2012; Memarovic et al, 2014; Pozos-Brewer, 2015; Rohman and Pang, 2015; Steigemann, 2017).

Tea/Coffee shops are a major sight on most of the streets and corners in Western communities. They are spaces where western community life unfolds. They are low profile, inclusive, accessible and generally conversational spaces (Memarovic, et al, 2014). They are notable spaces of socialization where people from all walks of life mingle, (Ellis, 2004). Tea/coffee shops have permeated western cultures such that they take tea/coffee breaks at work, they go out for tea/coffee and many times they say “let‟s discuss over a cup of tea/coffee”. In some western cultures, like in the United Kingdom, they even have afternoon tea time between 2pm and 4 pm (Wang,

2011). They generally equate tea/coffee to social interaction and leisure

(Pozos-Brewer, 2015).

In Hausa communities in Nigeria, tea shops are a means of livelihood for the youths and a lucrative business that reduces unemployment (Awa, 2015; Shettima, 2017). They also serve as rendezvous for people to meet, discuss and relax away from their homes and working places (Awa, 2015). Tea shops represent Fast food outlets where people get fast food like Indomie Noodles, Fried Eggs, Spaghetti and Potatoe Chips especially in the mornings and evenings (Giginyu, 2017). However, in spite of the economic significance and critical roles of tea/coffee shops as social spaces for information activities and in shaping actions and/or inactions of individuals in any given social polity, little is known of tea shops in Hausa communities of northern Nigeria. Specifically, little has been documented on the information activities, the social actors and the topics of discourse in these tea shops.

Understanding social spaces in general and tea shops in particular is critical because scholars in Library and Information Science discipline have identified the need for research into typologies of social spaces for different subgroups and populations in different regions of the world (Fisher et al, 2006; Al-Aufi, 2015). This is because different people from different regions utilize different social spaces for different information behaviour. In addition, individuals have more than one social space (Fisher et al, 2006). This study aimed at filling this conceptual gap. The tea shops in this study provided the starting point for exploring other social spaces in Samaru Community. Specifically, this study explored social spaces, information activities, social actors and the topics of discourse in the social spaces in the context of tea shops in Samaru Community, Kaduna State, Nigeria.



1.3 Research Questions

       The study was guided by one central question and four sub-questions. The central question was: What social spaces for Information activities exist in Samaru Community, Kaduna State?

The Sub-questions were:

  • What Information activities occur in Tea shops in Samaru Community?
  • Who are the social actors involved in information activities in Tea shops in Samaru Community?
  • What are the topics of discourse in Tea shops in Samaru Community during the period under study (2016-2018)?
  • How will propositions of Information Grounds Theory describe the social spaces for information activities and actions of individuals in Samaru Community?

1.4 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of this study was: To identify the social spaces for Information activities that exist in Samaru Community.

The other objectives were:

  • To identify the information activities that takes place in Tea shops in Samaru Community.
  • To identify the social actors involved in information activities in Tea shops in Samaru Community.
  • To identify the topics of discourse in Tea shops in Hausa Communities during the period under study.
  • To ascertain the propositions of Information Grounds theory that described Social Spaces for Information activities and actions of people in Samaru Community.

1.5 Significance of the Study

This study has conceptual and pragmatic significance. Conceptually, this study uncovered the social spaces in Hausa communal setting, case study of Samaru Community, Kaduna State, Nigeria. It has also uncovered the social actors that engage in social interaction in these spaces, the information activities that take place in these social spaces and the topics of discourse in the social spaces that shape the behaviour and actions of individuals in Samaru Community.

Pragmatically, this study is significant because the conceptual constructs of typologies of social spaces, information activities, social actors and topics of discourse in Tea shops in Samaru Community, Kaduna State are potentially useful for the tea seller, Samaru Community, Kaduna State and Nigeria as a whole. For the tea seller, the identification of social actors and the topics of discourse is potentially useful as he becomes aware of local, national and global events as they unfold. They also get to know the people in the community; this familiarity breeds loyalty which in turn increases his turnover and income.

For Samaru Community and the State, the identification of social spaces, the information activities, social actors is beneficial in the diffusion of information targeted at any category of social actors, like the need to register and collect the

Permanent Voters‟ Card, the need to shun election violence and Hate Speeches and the dissemination of health information on diseases like HIV/AIDS and cholera outbreaks.

For the Nigerian Government, these social spaces could serve as channels for information dissemination. The trust of these social spaces by social actors and the shared understanding of issues by these social actors is beneficial in promoting social integration of different ethnic and religious groups in the country.

This study is also beneficial to Library and Information Science discipline as the conceptual constructs identified shows the applicability of Information Grounds Theory in a non-western culture. The conceptual framework developed in this study also adds to the literature of Information Grounds Theory. In addition, these spaces are sources of data for information science researches in areas of community profiling, and community needs assessments.

1.6  Scope of the study

This study is a Single Case Study. Single Case studies could cover a single individual, an event, a particular area, or a group of people (Bryman, 2016; Yin,

2014). It is a single case study because it covered just Samaru Community, Kaduna State. The scope of this study is the social spaces, information activities, social actors, and the topics of discourse in Tea shops in Samaru Community.


1.7 Operational Definition of Terms

The following terms are defined operationally as used in this study:

Information Activities: Information Activities refer to the actions aimed at manipulating information like information seeking, information sharing, information diffusion, information utilization and information verification.

Mai Shayi Joints (Tea Shops): Tea shops refer to shops where tea, chocolate beverages, coffee, bread, fried eggs and noodles (indomie) are sold.

Non-Regulars: Non-Regulars are customers who visit the tea shops less than three times in a week.

Regulars: Regulars are customers who visit the tea shops more than three times a week.

Samaru Community: A Hausa Community in Sabon Gari Local Government,

Kaduna State, Nigeria.

Space: Space refers to any physical location that provides the frame/platform where people meet for a particular purpose.

Social Actor: Social Actors refer to the people who visit the Tea Shops.

Social Interaction: Social Interaction refers to any relationship between two or more individuals.  

Social spaces: Social spaces refer to any physical space where people meet and




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