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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Gender and Accumulation in Nso'
Author:Goheen, Mitzi
Geographic term:Cameroon
Subjects:gender relations
capital formation
Nso polity
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Abstract:This paper examines strategies of power and accumulation in Nso' (West Cameroon) from the precolonial period through the colonial period to the present. It traces both the development of male hierarchies of political power and control over female production and reproduction as a facet of male accumulative strategies. During precolonial times, although the Nso' hierarchy was clearly gendered, women's political power was not insignificant. The colonial administration supported the political authority of the Fon (chief) and, by being blind to the political roles played by women, reinforced male power. The discourse on gender, male/female roles and the division of labour which links 'farm-food-female' as a gender marker appears essentially the same today as it was forty years ago. The context, however, has changed in association with increasing integration of the local economy into the world market. In these changing conditions, gender discourse, which makes women responsible for providing food but does not give them control over productive resources, leads to increased inequality and marginalizes women. At the same time new opportunities, including education and access to paid work, have emerged for women that may lead to marriage decisions that they perceive as acts of resistance to traditional expectations. Bibliogr. (French version in: Itinéraires d'accumulation au Cameroun / sous la dir. de Peter Geschiere et Piet Konings, Paris [etc.], 1993).