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Okech, Awino (2019) 'Gender and state-building conversations: the discursive production of gender identity in Kenya and Rwanda.' Conflict, Security and Development. pp. 1-15. (Forthcoming)

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This article advances the conceptualisation of conversations on state-building by examining gendered discourses. By focusing on specific historical moments in Rwanda and Kenya, this article analyses how ‘respectable femininities’ and ‘wayward sexualities’ become the ‘sites’ where national and state politics are ritualised and where tensions resulting from non-hegemonic performances of both gender and sexuality are resolved. I argue that by examining sites of gendered cultural production, it is possible to trace how gendered tensions are enacted through localised practices and discursive mechanisms deployed to manage political differences and build solidarity within heterogeneous groups. The ritualisation and creation of ethno-national homogeneity as part of state-building conversations occurs at the expense of greater freedoms for women. Fundamentally this article posits that gendered cultural and traditional norms are essential sites from which to map state-building conversations and should not be cordoned off to the realm of social and therefore excluded from the political.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Gender, state-building, masculinities, femininity, militarism, Kenya, Rwanda
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Interdisciplinary Studies > Centre for Gender Studies
ISSN: 14678802
Copyright Statement: © 2019 King’s College London This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Conflict, Security & Development on13 May 2019, available online:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2020 09:16

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