Gender and Language, Vol 7, No 2 (2013)

‘Women of the Diaspora’: A Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis of migration narratives of dual career Zimbabwean migrants

Busi Makoni
Issued Date: 12 Jul 2013


This study explores the establishment and maintenance of gendered ideologies and practices within the household of dual career Zimbabwean migrants in the Diaspora, viewed from the lens of Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis. With a limited sample, the study explores the construction of gendered identities by analysing language use in responses to photographs of men engaged in activities that, in normative gender discourses, are considered ‘women’s work’. Drawing on qualitative data in the form of responses to inter-discursive photographs, the findings suggest that patriarchal norms significantly influence responses, which may reflect the establishment and maintenance of gendered ‘cultural’ identities and roles regarding household tasks. On the one hand, household tasks are viewed as indexical of femininity and the upholding of African cultural value systems, thus naturalizing the association of women with the home. Some women ‘collude’ in reinforcing divisive patriarchal and familial beliefs about female and male roles and view any potential reconstruction of gendered identity within the household as a transgression of socioculturally prescribed behavioural norms for women while others contest such stereotypes. On the other hand, when confronted with the need to take on childcare and other domestic duties traditionally ascribed to women, while at the same time being under considerable pressure to live up to accepted masculine ideals of their home countries, male migrants experience a loss of identity as family provider, leading to a redefinition and reproduction of a ‘new’ patriarchal position within the household based on remembered significance.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.v7i2.203


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