Gender, Lineage, and Ethnicity in Southern Africa

Gender, Lineage, and Ethnicity in Southern Africa

Gender, Lineage, and Ethnicity in Southern Africa

Gender, Lineage, and Ethnicity in Southern Africa

Synopsis

Based on extensive fieldwork, this study telescopes how lineage ideologies are constructed and change over time in the Zambezi River region, where matriliny and patriliny coexist. The author challenges the notion that patrilineality has subsumed matrilineal formations and demonstrates that despite colonial policies that privileged patrilineal gender relations of production- a preference that was extended by the postcolonial states- matrilineal relations of production have been adroitly sustained and even dominate in large parts of Malawi, northern Mozambique, and parts of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Looking specifically at the linkages between gender and ethnicity in the construction of lineage ideologies, the author offers a comparative study of women's changing status in the region and explores the implications for development policies at both the local and state levels.
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