Women's Identity and Moral Authority Under Colonial Rule in Kenya

Author: Clare Catherine BUSWELL

BUSWELL, Clare Catherine, 2012 Women's Identity and Moral Authority Under Colonial Rule in Kenya, Flinders University, Centre for Development Studies

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Abstract

This thesis examines moral authority and contructions of women's identites during colonial rule in Kenya. Women's farming and the use of moral authority gave women some control over the economic disruption and gender chaos caused by the colonial state. The thesis contextualises the conflict between colonial state controlled relationships (with chief's headmen, settlers) and resources (land, crops, labour, taxation) with in the use made by women of the changing understandings of gender relations and marriage to diminish the modernist discourse of colonial rule over their livelihoods, behaviour and identity. This provides a deeper understanding of the power relations that stem from the use of moral authority and its articulation with identity. The fluid and at times contradictory uses of moral authority are still utilized in Kenya today, remaining strong reference points when applied to questions of land access, farming, marriage, and gender relations.

Keywords: gender,moral authority,identity,colonial Kenya
Subject: International Studies thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2012
School: School of International Studies
Supervisor: Dr Yvonne Corcoran-Nantes