Gender in Practice published
In Sierra Leone, the dominant epistemological framework of the political and social history of the country and the post-colonial understanding of the place of men and women are based on the inter-subjective discourses of power, place, identity and belongingness. Through a complex web of culturally regulated, politically motivated and patriarchally conditioned belief systems on sexualities, a transition is imagined that goes beyond symbolism and familial attributes. Its aesthetics, as this book demonstrates, are deployed as a domain in which the political and cultural understanding of statehood, gender relations, politics, governance, armed conflict, human rights, women’s empowerment and sexual identity are made and remade. In the main, the rudimentary discourses on the everyday individual/collective survival strategies of women have exposed, in expressive forms, the gendered uncertainties in people’s lives. However, in practical terms, as described in this book, these uncertainties are a demonstration of the tensions between culturalism (and its post-colonial discontents) and the gender-ideological narrative concerning the question of gender equality and women’s place in politics, culture and society across time and space in Sierra Leone.
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John Idriss Lahai earned his PhD from the University of New England, Australia; and postgraduate degrees from the United Nations University for Peace Studies (UPEACE) and the University of Sierra Leone. Prior to joining Flinders University, Australia as a Research Fellow in the School of History and International Relations, he was an independent consultant with extensive experience working for think tanks and governments in Sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. Much of his academic and applied work has investigated the lived experiences of vulnerable peoples and communities within the margins of conflict, peacebuilding and state transformation, seeking to integrate perspectives from gender and women’s studies, public policy, public health governance, cultural anthropology, critical political economy, security studies, and human rights. He is co-editor of African Frontiers: Insurgency, Governance and Peacebuilding in Postcolonial States (2015) and author of The Ebola Pandemic in Sierra Leone: Representations, Actors, Interventions, and the Path to Recovery (2016), and his other publications have appeared in journals and edited books.