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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Fighting with proverbs': Kasena women's (re)definition of female personhood through proverbial jesting
Author:Yitah, Helen
Periodical:Research in African Literatures
Geographic term:Ghana
joking relationships
gender roles
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/research_in_african_literatures/v040/40.3.yitah.pdf
Abstract:This study is an attempt to document and critically explore what the author terms the 'proverbial revolt' of Kasena women from northern Ghana. The women take advantage of a socially sanctioned medium, the joking relationship that exists between a Kasena woman and her husband's siblings or kin of the same generation, to subvert, contradict, and deconstruct the sexist ideology in Kasem proverbs. In the process, they create a corpus of 'counter-proverbs' by which they establish their own signifying terms. This activity is termed 'ka jang de memanga' (lit. 'to fight with proverbs'); it is an activity that Kasena, who see proverbs as the wisdom of their ancestors, would typically avoid. Using the conception of proverb as strategy, and employing the theoretical concepts of positionality, identification, and performance, the author examines how perceptions of gender and female personhood are invoked, evoked, enacted, rejected, consciously reshaped, or completely transformed by these contemporary African women. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]