Gender, place and transgression: youth negotiations of gender identities in urban Botswana

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Authors

Giddings, Carla

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University of Guelph

Abstract

Theories of intersectionality, embodiment and performativity are employed to understand youth's gender identities in the rapidly urbanizing Southern African city of Gaborone, Botswana. This study argues that place-based gender scripts associated with the urban and rural operate simultaneously within the city limits, dictating specific, and sometimes competing, forms of masculinity and femininity. Physical mobility between rural and urban areas, however, complicates rigid definitions of gender identities. Furthermore, the transient nature of urban youth facilitates ideological mobility within gender scripts themselves. Urban youth's negotiation strategies inform feminist works by furthering empirical and theoretical understandings of connections between the transgression of gender identities and violence against women. Moreover, the research contributes to feminist geographies by highlighting the importance and complexity of place and mobility in the construction of gender identities.

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Keywords

intersectionality, embodiment, performativity, youth, gender identity, Gaborone, Botswana, place-based gender script, physical mobility, rural area, urban area

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