Phallocracies and Gynocratic Transgressions: Gender, State Power, and Kenyan Public Life


Musila, G. 2009. “Phallocracies and Gynocratic Transgressions: Gender, State Power and Kenyan Public Life.” Africa Insight 39 (1). 

Author: G. Musila


This article explores the role of hegemonic masculinities in shaping patterns of authority in Kenya, a context in which state power has historically been framed as a male affair, with the foregrounding of the phallus as a symbol for power and leadership. It argues that, beyond ethnicity and class, gender—and specifically masculinities—provides a compelling lens through which to understand the Kenyan post-election crisis and its attendant elements: the deadlock between Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga; the mobilisation of militaristic masculinities and the violence inflicted on men and women’s bodies during the conflict.

Topics: Class, Gender, Women, Men, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Elections, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Political Participation, Violence Regions: Africa, East Africa Countries: Kenya

Year: 2009

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