Poverty, Male Disempowerment, and Male Sexuality: Rethinking Men and Masculinities in Rural and Urban East Africa

  • Margrethe Silberschmidt

Abstract

Most writings on gender in the Third World necessarily examine issues of poverty, the lack of economic development and the spread of HIV, and emphasize the subordination of women and the power of men. The possibility that men could be disempowered is not entertained. The dominant framework for discussion is that men have been the “winners” and women the “losers” in the process of socioeconomic change during the past century (Silberschmidt 1992b). Drawing on anthropological research work in East Africa, this chapter explores the changing position of men and argues that many of them have been, and feel, disempowered.

Keywords

Maize Depression Income Arena Defend 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ahlberg, B. M. 1994. “Is there a Distinct African Sexuality? A Critical Response to Caldwell et al.” Africa 64, 2: 220–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Arrighi, Giovanni. 2002. “The African Crisis: World Systemic and Regional Aspects.” New Left Review 15: 27–47.Google Scholar
  3. Boserup, E. 1980. “African Women in Production and Household,” in C. Presvelou et al. eds., Household, Women and Agricultural Development. The Netherlands: Wageningen.Google Scholar
  4. Bourdieu, P. 1992. An Invitation to Reflexive Sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  5. —. 1998. La Domination Masculine. Paris: Editions du Seuil.Google Scholar
  6. Caldwell, J. C., Caldwell, P., and Orubuloye, I. O. 1992. “The Family and Sexual Networking in Sub-Saharan Africa: Historical Regional Differences and Present Day Implications.” Population Studies 46, 3: 385–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chant, S. and Gutman, M. C. 2000. Mainstreaming Men into Gender and Development Debates, Reflections and Experiences. Oxford: Oxfam Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Connell, R. W. 1993. “The Big Picture: Masculinities in Recent World History.” Theory and Society 22: 597–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. —. 1995. Masculinities. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  10. Cornwall, A. and Lindisfarne, N. 1994. “Dislocating Masculinity: Gender, Power and Anthropology,” in A. Cornwall and N. Lindisfarne eds., Dislocating Masculinity: Comparative Ethnographies. London: Routledge: 11–47.Google Scholar
  11. Giddens, A. 1991. Modernity and Self-Identity. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  12. Heald, S. 1995. “The Power of Sex: Some Reflections on the Caldwells’ African Sexuality’ Thesis.” Africa 65, 4: 489–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. IDS bulletin. 2000. Men, Masculinities and Development 31 (2). Institute of Development Studies, Sussex.Google Scholar
  14. Kandiyoti, D. 1988. “Bargaining with Patriarchy.” Gender & Society 2, 3: 274–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kimmel, M. S. 1987. “Rethinking ‘Masculinity,’” in M. S. Kimmel ed., Changing Men: New Directions in Research on Men and Masculinity. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  16. Kisii District Development Plan for 1989–1993. 1992. Ministry of Planning and National Development, Nairobi.Google Scholar
  17. Leslie, J. A. K. 1963. A Survey of Dar es Salaam. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  18. LeVine, R. A. and LeVine, B. B. 1966. Nyansongo: A Gusii Community in Kenya. New York: John Riley and Sons.Google Scholar
  19. Lindisfarne, N. 1994. “Variant Masculinities, Variant Virginities: Rethinking Honour and Shame,” in A. Cornwall and N. Lindisfarne eds., Dislocating Masculinity: Comparative Ethnographies. London: Routledge. 82–96.Google Scholar
  20. Lindsey, L. L. 1994. Gender Roles. A Sociological Perspective. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  21. Masanja, P. and Urassa, E. J. N. 1993. “The Marginalisation of Men.” Paper prepared for the Conference Population Reconsidered, Swedish Development Agency (SIDA), Harare.Google Scholar
  22. Mayer, I. 1973. “The Patriarchal Image: Routine Dissociation in Gusii Families.” African Studies 34, 4: 259–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Mgughuni, P. 1994. “Gender and Poverty Alleviation in Tanzania: Issues from and for Research,” in M. S. D. Bagachwa ed., Poverty Alleviation in Tanzania. 207–248. Dar es Salaam University Press and Network for Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA), Dar es Salaam.Google Scholar
  24. Mies, M. 1986. Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  25. Omari, C. K. 1994. “Social and Cultural Factors Influencing Poverty in Tanzania,” in M. S. D. Bagachwa ed. Poverty Alleviation in Tanzania. 249–268. Dar es Salaam University Press and Network for Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA), Dar es Salaam.Google Scholar
  26. Ortner, S. B. and Whitehead, H. 1989. “Introduction: Accounting for Sexual Meanings,” in S. B. Ortner and H. Whitehead eds., Sexual Meanings: the Cultural Construction of Gender and Sexuality. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1–27.Google Scholar
  27. Orvis, S. 1988. The Development Debate and Household Reproduction in Kenya. ASA (African Studies Association) conference paper. Chicago.Google Scholar
  28. Rutz, W., Walinder, J., von Knorring, L., Rilimer, Z. and Pihlgrenl, H. 1997. “Prevention of Depression and Suicide by Education and Medication: Impact on Male Suicidality.” An update of the Gotland study. International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice 1: 39–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sabo, D. and Gordon, D. F. 1995. “Rethinking Men’s Health and Illness: The Relevance of Gender Studies,” in Sabo, D. and Gordon, D. F. eds., Men’s Health and Illness. Gender, Power, and the Body. London: Sage. 1–21.Google Scholar
  30. Seidler, V. 1991. “Reason, Desire, and Male Sexuality,” in Caplan, P. ed., The Cultural Construction of Sexuality. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Shajahan, P. M. and Cavanagh, J. T. O. 1998. “Admission for Depression Among Men in Scotland, 1980–1995: Retrospective Study.” British Medical Journal 1496–1497.Google Scholar
  32. Silberschmidt, M. 1992a. Rethinking Men and Gender Relations. An Investigation of Men, Their Changing Roles Within the Household, and the Implications for Gender Relations in Kisii District, Kenya. Research Report. No. 16. Center for Development Research, Copenhagen.Google Scholar
  33. —. 1992b. “Have Men Become the Weaker Sex? Changing Life Situations in Kisii District, Kenya.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 30, 2: 237–253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. —. 1999. Women Forget that Men are the Masters: Gender Antagonism and SocioEconomic Change in Kisii District, Kenya. Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala and Almquist & Wiksell International, Stockholm, Sweden.Google Scholar
  35. —. 2001. “Disempowerment of Men in Rural and Urban East Africa: Implications for Male Identity and Sexual Behavior.” World Development 29, 4: 657–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Standing, H. and Kisekka, M. N. 1989. “Sexual Behavior in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Review and Annotated Bibliography.” School of African and Asian Studies. University of Sussex.Google Scholar
  37. Stillion, J. M. 1995. “Premature Death Among Males,” in Sabo, D. and Gordon, D. E eds., Men’s Health and Illness: Gender, Power, and the Body. London: Sage. 46–67.Google Scholar
  38. Strauss J, Mwabu and Beegle, K. 2000. “Intra-Household Allocations: A Review of Theories and Empirical Evidence.” Journal of African Economies 9 (supplement 1): 83–143.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Tanzania Population Census 1978. (1982). Bureau of Statistics, Dar es Salaam.Google Scholar
  40. Tanzania Health and Demographic Survey. (1996). Bureau of Statistics, Dar es Salaam.Google Scholar
  41. Tripp, A. M. 1997. Changing the Rules: The Politics of Liberalization and the Urban Informal Economy in Tanzania. California: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  42. UNAIDS. 2000. Men Make a Difference.Google Scholar
  43. UNDP. 1995. Human Development Report. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. UNIFEM. 2002. www.unifem.org.
  45. White, L. 1990. “Separating Men from the Boys: Constructions of Gender, Sexuality and Terrorism in Central Kenya 1939–1959.” International journal of African Historical Studies 23, 1: 1–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Willis, P. 1984. “Youth Unemployment: Thinking the Unthinkable.” Youth and Policy 2, 4: 17–36.Google Scholar
  47. Willot, S. and Christine Griffin. 1996. “Men, Masculinity and the Challenge of Long-Term Unemployment,” in Máirtín Mac an Ghaill ed., Understanding Masculinities. London: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  48. World Bank. 1995. Tanzania. Social Sector Review, Washington DC.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Lahoucine Ouzgane and Robert Morrell 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margrethe Silberschmidt

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations