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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Joking market women: critiquing and negotiating gender and social hierarchy in Kankossa, Mauritania
Author:Wiley, Katherine Ann
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:Mauritania
Subjects:market women
joking relationships
social relations
External links:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/africa_the_journal_of_the_international_african_institute/v084/84.1.wiley.pdf
Abstract:The streets of Kankossa's busy daily market often ring with laughter as female vegetable vendors joke with each other and passersby. This joking comes at a time when gender roles are shifting in Mauritania since it has become challenging for many men to provide for their families, causing women to take on roles as significant income earners. Likewise, as slavery has diminished over the last century,?ara?in, a group consisting of ex-slaves or descendants of slaves, have been negotiating their places in the polity. To gain insight into the shifting social order, this article analyses examples of joking by?ara?in market women who in this way engage with issues of gender and the social hierarchy. The social space of the market is a critical setting for such practices since it both facilitates their occurrence and also gives women's words weight because they are spoken in the presence of an audience. While jokes are always ambiguous, women's joking in front of others in this space makes their jokes bite, thus enabling them to give voice to deeply personal anxieties and make sense of changes in the social order. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]