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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Discourse on moral womanhood in Somali popular songs, 1960-1990
Author:Kapteijns, LidwienISNI
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Geographic term:Somalia
gender relations
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40206700
Abstract:This article is a study of Somali popular songs of the period 1960-1990, which opened with the establishment of the Somali national State and ended with its collapse. It focuses on these songs as a discursive site in which a particular dilemma of the new Somali State clearly comes into focus, namely the desire to be 'modern', while at the same time turning to 'tradition' (i.e. a particular construction of Somali cultural authenticity and traditional religious morality) to mark and anchor a new Somali collective self-understanding and communal identity. The discursive push-and-pull of 'modernity' and 'tradition' evident in the songs expresses itself specifically in debates about moral womanhood - that is to say, about what 'good' women should be like. Since the collapse of the State in 1991, Somali discourses about common public identity and gender norms have undergone dramatic change, with the sites of popular culture multiplying, especially outside of Somalia, and accessible through the internet. Although an interpretation of Islam that distances itself from Somali 'tradition' has been gaining importance as a source of legitimization, as is evident both in the struggle over the State in Somalia and in everyday life in Somalia and the diaspora, this is not a major concern in the Somali popular songs from the period after 1991. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]