(Re)negotiating Gender Identity Among Zimbabwean Female Pentecostal Migrants in South Africa

  • Tinashe Chimbidzikai


This chapter is based on narratives by migrant women on how they become active agents in (re)constructing and (re)articulating their own identities. The chapter makes room for the voices of thousands of Zimbabwean migrant women in South Africa through what Abu-Lughod (1991: 149) refers to as ethnographies of the particular interweaving the location of migrant women through matrices of power discourse. In other words, these narratives give a voice to migrant women in their roles as “actors of change”, rather than “subjects of change”. As such, the chapter puts migrant women centre stage in assessing how migration impacts on their lives to negotiate and renegotiate their gender identity, specifically in a host milieu. The chapter is theoretically grounded in Judith Butler’s claim on the notion of gender performativity in a more localised, ethnographic accounts of migrant women living in South Africa. It reconnoitres the relevance and applicability of Butler’s theory on the lived experiences and everyday realities of the migrant women within a Pentecostal religious context. The chapter therefore focuses on how gender identity, within a glocalised community of Pentecostal migrants, is prompted by obligatory norms to be one gender or the other, and how the reproduction of gender is thus always a negotiated process.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tinashe Chimbidzikai
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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