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Indigenous Knowledge Systems

Armed Resistance: Masculinities, Egbesu Spirits, and Violence in the Niger Delta of Nigeria


Golden, Rebecca Lynne. 2012. “Armed Resistance: Masculinities, Egbesu Spirits, and Violence in the Niger Delta of Nigeria.” PhD diss., Tulane University.

Author: Rebecca Lynne Golden



This dissertation addresses the Ijaw/Ijo armed resistance movement for self-determination waged by young men against multinational oil companies and the Federal Government of Nigeria in the Niger Delta. I investigated the reciprocity of violence, the transgression of social order, and the search for legitimacy. The processes of defining Ijaw masculinities as responses to the everyday militarization and of this riverine, polluted environment and the increasing marginalization of Ijaw youth encompassed three dimensions of warriorhood, cosmology, and reciprocal, brutal disorder. This struggle was not one of disengagement but of diverse involvement, where a generation of men, were torn together by poverty, despair, and revolt. Complex notions of agency, (dis)connection, and belonging provide outlets for a youth-based political hierarchy that hurls young men over the gerontocracy and into the mainstream of Ijaw petrol politics. Armed with Egbesu (powerful Ijaw god of justice and war) warriors intensified their violent resistance, infused with renewed vigor from historical, ethno-spiritual identities. I demonstrated, through a progression of violent professionalization and a new democracy, that indigenous cosmology shaped and legitimized the struggle against the Nigerian Government; Egbesu orders daily lives in a world of disorder. The war god offers a counter-balance to tradition and modernity, and yet he is the manifestation of both. I revealed that the modern Ijaw warrior believes that well-organized, fighting organizations are capable of propelling the Delta out of her problems while socially promoting young men to senior status, as condoned by their elders. The new Ijaw warrior dreams of returning to his village or town as a hero to supplant older forms of rule, yet he is no longer in control of his lands and trading routes. Instead, oil lifting, pipeline sabotage, and burning cash have become the new order. The armed rebellion wove a web of betrayals and disillusionment. The contradictory reverberations of failures and successes of Ijaw warriors continues to anchor everyday meanings on historical transgressions, warrior obligations, and future aspirations for social inclusion, while sequestering the emergent Ijaw warrior in perpetual battle. He is the unseen additive in the Nigerian oil, on which the world depends.

Topics: Age, Youth, Armed Conflict, Democracy / Democratization, Economies, Environment, Extractive Industries, Gender, Boys, Masculinity/ies, Men, Indigenous, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Multi-National Corporations, Violence Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2012

Interpreting Gender Mainstreaming by NGOs in India: A Comparative Ethnographic Approach


George, Glynis R. 2007. “Interpreting Gender Mainstreaming by NGOs in India: A Comparative Ethnographic Approach.” Gender, Place & Culture 14 (6): 679-701.

Author: Glynis R. George


This article examines the way gender mainstreaming is interpreted by specific non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in India whose development initiatives draw upon particular ideologies of gender equality in their attempts to apply gender analysis. Its purpose is to locate and situate gender mainstreaming in the culturally specific contexts in which it is practiced to capture the complex realities in which gender policies are implemented and women are positioned to effect change. This is an important focus given that gender mainstreaming now pervades transnational governance and yet is informed by feminist analysis. Moreover, NGOs form key sites in which these policies are expected to be implemented. Of the critiques of gender mainstreaming which have emerged in the last 10 years, I examine how potentially conflicting models of gender inequality and equality take local expression and expand on the importance of framing in making gender mainstreaming meaningful by attending to indigenous interpretations of feminism and gender equality. The analysis I offer provides an ethnographic and comparative contribution to an understanding of gender mainstreaming as a contested site whose possibilities and limitations can be revealed by an attention to its feminist origins, namely a focus on context, process and identity formation.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gender Mainstreaming, Indigenous, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, NGOs Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: India

Year: 2007

Striking the Rock: Confronting Gender Equality in South Africa


Andrews, Penelope E. 1998. “Striking the Rock: Confronting Gender Equality in South Africa.” Michigan Journal of Race & Law 3 (2): 307–39.

Author: Penelope E. Andrews


This Article analyzes the status of women's rights in the newly democratic South Africa. It examines rights guaranteed in the Constitution and conflicts between the principle of gender equality and the recognition of indigenous law and institutions. The Article focuses on the South African transition to democracy and the influence that feminist agitation at the international level has had on South African women's attempts at political organization. After dissecting the historical position of customary law in South Africa and questioning its place in the new democratic regime the author argues that, although South African women have benefited from the global feminist endeavor, they have adopted the shape and substance of women's rights to accommodate conditions peculiar to South Africa. The Article concludes that this balancing of respect for indigenous culture and the ultimate goal of eradication of all forms of sexism provides the best means for women in South Africa to make progress in their quest for equal status in that society.



Topics: Democracy / Democratization, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Equality/Inequality, Indigenous, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Rights, Indigenous Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 1998

Está listo (Are you ready)? Gender, Race and Land Registration in the Río Plántano Biosphere Reserve


Mollett, Sharlene. 2010. "Está listo (Are you ready)? Gender, Race and Land Registration in the Río Plántano Biosphere Reserve.” Gender, Place and Culture 17 (3): 357-375.

Author: Sharlene Mollett


Geographers and political ecologists are paying increased attention to the ways in which conservation policies disrupt indigenous customary tenure arrangements. However, much less attention is given to the particular ways protected area management shapes natural resource access for indigenous women. With this in mind, this article examines how a recently proposed state land project in Honduras, Catastro y Regularización, requires that Miskito residents individuate collective family lands in the interests of 'sustainable development' and 'biodiversity protection'. In the debates that followed the project's announcement, Miskito women feared that such measures would erase their customary access to family lands. As the state's project seeks to re-order Reserve land, intra-Miskito struggles intensified among villagers. Such struggles are not only gendered but are shaped by longstanding processes of racialization in Honduras and the Mosquitia region. Drawing upon ethnographic research, I argue that Miskito women's subjectivity and rights to customary family holdings are informed by their ability to make 'patriarchal bargains' with Miskito men inside the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve. Such findings suggest that scholars and policy makers continue to reflect on the ways global conservation and sustainable development practices may undermine indigenous customary tenure securities, whether intentionally or not.

Keywords: indigenous peoples, gender, land registration, protected areas, racialization

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Indigenous, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Land Tenure, Race, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Honduras

Year: 2010


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