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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Expanding 'Civil Society': Women and Political Space in Contemporary Uganda
Author:Tripp, Aili M.ISNI
Year:1998
Periodical:Commonwealth and Comparative Politics
Volume:36
Issue:2
Period:July
Pages:84-107
Language:English
Geographic term:Uganda
Subjects:gender relations
political systems
women's organizations
Politics and Government
Women's Issues
Law, Human Rights and Violence
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/14662049808447768
Abstract:Notions of civil society based on Western liberal theory have been appropriated to describe aspects of African associational life in ways that have uncritically accepted a gendered public-private distinction that is problematic even in the Western context. Popular definitions of civil society fail along at least three dimensions: they fail to appreciate the centrality of the family to civil society and to the public sphere; they ignore the salience of organizations, especially at the local level, that do not engage the State for policy change; and they are unable to explain incivility caused by processes of social change. The notion of civil society therefore needs to be expanded by widening the political space that it occupies. Political spaces need to be seen as locations of contestation and accommodation over resources, influence and power. The author illustrates her argument with examples from Africa, with a particular focus on the struggles of women's organizations in Uganda. She includes a case study of a parish health clinic in a village near Jinja which was successfully established and run by the Ekikwenza Omubi ('Beauty is in the eye of the beholder') Women's Project but which was closed down as a result of pressure from local council leaders who saw it as a challenge to male authority. Notes, ref., sum.
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