Gender Roles in Nigeria’s Non-Violent Oil Resistance Movement

Citation:

Munir, Laine. 2020. “Gender Roles in Nigeria’s Non-Violent Oil Resistance Movement.” Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne Des éTudes Africaines 55 (1): 79–97.

 

Author: Laine Munir

Abstract:

ENGLISH ABSTRACT:
Since the 1980s, Nigerians have engaged in non-violent protests against oil exploitation polluting their lands. This qualitative case study asks why Niger Delta women came to engage in seemingly separate, all-female protests starting in 2002, mobilizing in a long-standing resistance previously led by men. Using grounded theory methods, this multi-site ethnography draws on one-on-one interviews, participant observations, and university and non-governmental organization archival data. It finds that although women were indeed aggrieved by oil, their protests from 2002 to 2012 did not emerge autonomously from those of men, as described in scholarship elsewhere. Rather, these findings indicate that male elites may have had a role in initiating women’s collective action in response to their own failed prior negotiations, to increase the number of protesters, and to bolster men’s dialogue. This study provides a nuanced corrective to the Niger Delta narrative and expands our understanding of gender dynamics in social movements.

FRENCH ABSTRACT:
Depuis les années 80, les nigérians se sont engagés dans des protestations non-violentes contre l’exploitation pétrolière qui pollue leurs terres. Cette étude de cas qualitative examine pourquoi les femmes du delta du Niger en sont venues, à partir de 2002, à s’engager dans des protestations apparemment distinctes, entièrement féminines, en se mobilisant dans une résistance de longue date menée par des hommes auparavant. Fondée sur des méthodes de théorie ancrée, cette ethnographie multi-sites s’appuie sur des entretiens individuels, des observations participantes et des données d’archives universitaires et d’organisations non-gouvernementales. Elle révèle que si les femmes ont effectivement été lésées par l’exploitation pétrolière, leurs protestations de 2002 à 2012 n’ont pas émergé de celles des hommes de manière autonome, comme l’a décrit une autre étude. Ces résultats indiquent plutôt que les élites masculines ont peutêtre joué un rôle dans le lancement de l’action collective des femmes, en réaction à l’échec de leurs propres négociations préalables, pour augmenter le nombre de manifestants et renforcer le dialogue entre hommes. Cette étude apporte une correction nuancée au récit du delta du Niger et élargit notre compréhension de la dynamique des genres dans les mouvements sociaux.

Keywords: women, protest, Nigeria, environmental conflict, femmes, protestation, conflit environnemental, théorie ancrée, Grounded Theory

Topics: Conflict, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Nonviolence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2020

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