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Title: WIVES' DOMESTIC AND POLITICAL ACTIVITIES AT HOME: THE SPACE OF COFFEE DRINKING AMONG THE DAASANETCH OF SOUTHWESTERN ETHIOPIA
Authors: SAGAWA, Toru
Keywords: Public/Private
Political/Domestic
Gender
Decision-making
Pastoral societies in East Africa
Coffee.
Issue Date: Jun-2006
Publisher: The Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
Journal title: African Study Monographs
Volume: 27
Issue: 2
Start page: 63
End page: 86
Abstract: Since the 1980s, many researchers have reconsidered and criticized the representation of pastoral societies in East Africa as patriarchal. But they often failed to question the Western biased analytical framework, that is, the public-political-men/ private-domestic-women dichotomy. In this paper, I focus on the space of coffee drinking in the house, one of the most daily and communal spaces among the Daasanetch of southwestern Ethiopia to examine the applicability of this dichotomy. The handling of coffee is under the wife's discretion, and only she can brew and allocate it, so that the space of coffee drinking fundamentally depends on her work. This space has a political importance such as to entertain guests, to bless the society with peace and affluence, and to conduct many rites de passage. This space is for the gathering and discussion by people of all social categories on private to public topics. The wife always participates in the activities of this space not only as a laborer but as an active participant in the processes of rituals and discussions. Distinctions of public/private domains and political/domestic activities are almost meaningless in the Daasanetch space of coffee drinking. While a wife brews and allocates coffee as a domestic worker in her private house, she participates in the political discussion to settle public issues. The space is both private and public, and the wife is domestic and political simultaneously.
DOI: 10.14989/68248
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2433/68248
Appears in Collections:Vol.27 No.2

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