Getting married and the making of manhoods in a Ghanaian Zongo

Dauncey, Emil (2016) Getting married and the making of manhoods in a Ghanaian Zongo. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis is about getting married and the making of manhoods in Sabon Zongo; a Muslim, Hausa enclave in Accra. I elaborate the normative rights and responsibilities of men within idealised relations of consumption, production and exchange, and how they are implicated in accepted and valued notions of manhood. Men achieve and articulate socially accepted and valued, productive and responsible manhoods through marriage by establishing a household of dependents. Irrespective of actual productive activities, women, children and unmarried 'youth' are said to be incapable of meeting their own consumption needs, and so dependent on male household heads, who produce and provide on their behalf. These dependencies are said to justify the status, prestige and authority of married men. Whilst marriage matters to men because it brings about an improvement in how they are socially evaluated, it is seldom easily achieved. Unmarried men must subordinate themselves to the authority of senior men, whose support is necessary if their marital aspirations are to be realised. Thus it is control over reproduction, rather than production and productive resources, which underpins male authority.
However, idealised accounts of manhood, and the marital process through which it is achieved, often contradict what actually happens in practice. I explore men’s efforts to reconcile tensions between ideals and actualities. I examine marital pathways as sites of representation, in which men seek to influence the social evaluations made of them by others. I draw on Goffman (1956, 1974, 1980) and De Certeau (1984) to examine how men go about curating and choreographing the marital process, in particular the exchange of marriage goods, and how they seek to manage information for impression management. I show how a convincing performance requires the cooperation of others, including one’s notional dependents. This reveals a paradox of dependency; in that such cooperation is not only difficult for men to secure, but may involve compromises that call their very manhoods in to question.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2016 13:15
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2016 13:15


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