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Womanhood in Botswana: Meaning and experience

Smith, Stephanie S (2017) Womanhood in Botswana: Meaning and experience. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This AHRC-funded research addresses previously neglected issues of womanhood and gender in the Botswana context. According to Connell and Pearse (2015: 83) ‘the study of cultural representations of gender, gendered attitudes, value systems and related problems has been probably the most active area of gender studies in the past two decades ¬¬– in the rich countries of the global metropole. It is not so central in the developing world, where questions of poverty, power and economic change have higher priority.’ This is the case in Botswana, where there has been little scholarly research into the social and cultural aspects of gender beyond its economic and health impacts over the last 20 years. Prior to that, Schapera’s seminal works (1938, 1940) recorded numerous aspects of gender relations, and Suggs’ 1987 study provided an updated perspective on female status and life stages. This thesis builds on these texts, investigating aspects of the social and cultural construction of womanhood in Botswana today. Drawing on semi-structured qualitative interviews with 30 Batswana women, I thematically analyse the participants’ accounts to understand how womanhood is defined and experienced in Tswana culture. I consider how the rapidly changing economic, political, social and material environment that has characterised Botswana since independence in 1966 shapes attitudes to gender roles, and to what extent traditional expectations persist in this context.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Centre for Women's Studies (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.727186
Depositing User: Dr Stephanie S Smith
Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2017 13:11
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2020 13:03
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/18824

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