Wolof Women, Economic Liberalization, and the Crisis of Masculinity in Rural Senegal

Citation:

Perry, Donna L. 2005. “Wolof Women, Economic Liberalization, and the Crisis of Masculinity in Rural Senegal.” Ethnology 44 (3): 207–26.

Author: Donna L. Perry

Abstract:

Among Wolof farmers in Senegal’s Peanut Basin, patriarchal control of household dependents has diminished in conjunction with economic liberalization, state disengagement, and the formation of rural weekly markets. This article builds on twenty-six months of ethnographic fieldwork to explore a crisis of masculinity expressed by men in their oral testimonies and everyday discourse. In domestic struggles over labor and income, male control over women has decreased in the postcolonial epoch. Male household heads, in wrathful fashion, condemn women for their individualism, selfishness, and open sexuality. Men’s discourse of social decay contrasts with the more neutral narratives produced by women, who stress household solidarity and the pragmatics of household survival in response to economic insecurity. Wolof husbands and wives confront economic change through different discourses and practices, all the while renegotiating domestic authority.

Keywords: Wolof women, economic liberalization, masculinity crisis, Senegal

Topics: Coloniality/Post-Coloniality, Economies, Economic Inequality, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Senegal

Year: 2005

© 2017 CONSORTIUM ON GENDER, SECURITY & HUMAN RIGHTSLEGAL STATEMENT All photographs used on this site, and any materials posted on it, are the property of their respective owners, and are used by permission. Photographs: The images used on the site may not be downloaded, used, or reproduced in any way without the permission of the owner of the image. Materials: Visitors to the site are welcome to peruse the materials posted for their own research or for educational purposes. These materials, whether the property of the Consortium or of another, may only be reproduced with the permission of the owner of the material. This website contains copyrighted materials. The Consortium believes that any use of copyrighted material on this site is both permissive and in accordance with the Fair Use doctrine of 17 U.S.C. § 107. If, however, you believe that your intellectual property rights have been violated, please contact the Consortium at info@genderandsecurity.org.