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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Matan Bariki, 'Women of the Barracks': Muslim Hausa Women in an Urban Neighbourhood in Northern Nigeria
Author:Werthmann, KatjaISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic terms:Nigeria
Northern Nigeria
urban women
Urbanization and Migration
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Cultural Roles
Education and Training
Religion and Witchcraft
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3556801
Abstract:This article, which is based on field research carried out in 1992 and 1993, deals with Muslim Hausa women who live on a housing estate called the 'barikin 'yan sanda' (police barracks) in Kano, northern Nigeria. The barracks are located in the southeast of the Old City, close to the city wall, which still represents not only a physical but also a cultural barrier between the ancient, Muslim section, and more recently built parts. In spite of its location within the city walls, inhabitants of the ancient quarters of Kano do not consider this area as really belonging to the Old City. Unlike neighbourhoods in some older city wards where affiliation to clan or ethnic origin determine local networks, the police barracks are characterized by the absence of kinship ties and a fairly high turnover of residents moving in and out. The article shows that alternative concepts of community and identity have developed amongst the 'matan bariki' (women of the barracks). Although the term 'matan bariki' is synonymous with 'prostitutes' for most Hausa-speakers, the secluded wives of policemen living on the estate use it as a self-designation that signifies membership of an urban middle class. The article explores the ambivalent meanings of the term 'bariki' as a symbol of modernity and 'Westernization' as well as the relation between seclusion as a religiously defined institution and its significance as a mark of socioeconomic status. Bibliogr., notes, sum. in English and French.