The making and remaking of gender relations in Tanzanian fiction

Wakota, John (2014-04)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study examines the fictional representation of gender relations in novels set during five historical periods in Tanzania – the pre-colonial, colonial, nationalism, Ujamaa, and the current neoliberalism period – each of which is marked by important shifts in the nation’s economic contours. Analysing novels written in both Swahili and English, it tracks the shifts in fictionalized household and extra-household gender relations; analyses how the community and the state (colonial and post-colonial) variously map and remap the way male and female characters relate; and interrogates how male and female characters variously accommodate, appropriate, bargain with and/or resist the shifts. The study employs the concepts of power and intersectionality to analyse how selected authors depict gender relations as a product of intersecting identity categories, complex socio-economic shifts and historical processes. Defining labour as productive work done for wage and fulfilment of gender roles, the study argues that labour is one of the major aspects shaping power relations between men and women. It reveals that labour is the major aspect in which the economic shifts have had great impact on gender relations as represented in Tanzanian fiction. As an aspect of power, labour is also the area within which gender relations have continuously been negotiated and contested throughout the fictionalized history. In negotiating or resisting given economic shifts, both male and female characters variously deconstruct and or endorse existing notions of power, labour, and gender relations. The study shows that the cross-fertilization among the periods, the interaction between gender and other identity categories (such as race, religion, class, and age), the synergy between indigenous patriarchy and other patriarchies (such as colonial and capitalist), and, the interactions between global and local dynamics account for the complex and contradictory nature of the shifts in gender relations throughout the nation’s history. Consequently, the study’s major observation is that across the fictionalized history, characters variously seek to maintain and or transform existing gender relations and or discard or restore past gender relations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Dié studie ondersoek die fiksionele verteenwoordiging van geslagsverhoudings in romans wat gestel word gedurende vyf historiese periodes in Tanzanië – pre-koloniale, koloniale, nasionalisties, Ujamaa en die huidige neoliberalisme – elkeen waarvan gekenmerk is deur belangrike verskuiwings in die nasie se ekonomiese kontoere. Deur die analisering van romans wat in Engels en Swahili geskryf is volg dit die verskuiwings in fiktiewe huishouding- en ekstrahuishoudelike geslagsverhoudings; dit analiseer hoe die gemeenskap en die staat (koloniale en post-koloniale) die manier van hoe manlike en vroulike karakters verband hou verskillend en afwisselend kaart en herkaart; dit interrogeer hoe manlike en vroulike karakters verskillend die verskuiwings akkommodeer, bewillig en weerstaan. Die studie maak gebruik van die konsepte van krag en intersektionaliteit om te analiseer hoe die geselekteerde skrywers geslagsverhoudings verteenwoordig as ʼn produk van kruisende identiteitskategorieë, komplekse sosio-ekonomiese verskuiwings en historiese prosesse. Arbeid word as produktiewe werk wat gedoen word vir loon en geslagsrolle definieer, en die studie argumenteer dat arbeid een van die hoof aspekte is wat magsverhoudings bepaal tussen mans en vrouens. Dit onthul dat arbeid die hoof aspek is in die ekonomiese verskuiwings wat ʼn groot impak gehad het in geslagsverhoudings in Tanzaniese fiksie. As ʼn aspek van mag is dit ook die area waarin geslagsverhouding aanmekaar onderhandel en betwis word dwarsdeur die fiktiewe geskiedenis. Wanneer dit kom by die onderhandel en twis van ekonomiese verskuiwings is dit beide manlike en vroulike karakters wat afwisselend bestaande idees van mag, arbeid en geslagsverhoudings dekonstrueer en endosseer. Die studie bewys dat kruisbestuiwing tussen die periodes, die interaksies tussen geslag en ander identiteitskategorieë (soos ras, geloof, klas en ouderdom), die sinergie tussen patriargie en ander patriargies (soos koloniale en kapitalistiese) en die interaksies tussen globale en plaaslike dinamika verantwoordelik is vir die komplekse en teenstrydige natuur van die wisselinge in geslagsverhoudings regdeur die nasie se geskiedenis. Gevolglik is die studie se hoofobservasie dat die karakters regdeur die geskiedenis op verskeie maniere poog om bestaande geslagsverhoudings te behou of te transformeer of om vorige geslagsverhoudings te herstel of verwyder.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/86389
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