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This dissertation begins with a sketch of precolonial Nigerian social structure and its accompanying labor relations to provide a basis for assessing the ways in which colonialism gave rise to new social, economic and political institutions as the industrialization processes unfolded. The post-independence social institutions reflect the persistence of colonial patterns. It is also in this context that the contemporary Nigerian port and dock workers' orientation to life, attitudes toward work, accumulation of wealth, independence, dependence, leisure, and aspirations, etc., are informed and shaped. The concept of work alienation faced by both worker groups enhances our understanding of some of the problems that confront the modern Nigerian working class.