Masculinities and Religion in Kaduna, Nigeria: A Struggle for Continuity at a Time of Change

Colette Harris

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Abstract

This paper addresses coping strategies used by men in Kaduna to ward off chaos resulting from economic instability, situating them within the global context and national policies on gender and religion. They include upholding a set of gender norms in which adult masculinity’s most crucial traits are control over women and children, and breadwinning. These norms were introduced into Nigeria under colonialism and through Islam and Christianity, yet today they are considered to represent local traditions. Religion is also important for coping strategies, especially the newer Pentecostal churches and reformist mosques, characterized by emphasis on literalist interpretations of the scriptures and notions of male superiority. Poor men have particularly welcomed the levels of certainty, moral and material support they provide as well as the legitimization of their gender power positions, especially those struggling to perform appropriate masculinity, while at the same time these establishments have facilitated sectarian violence.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-230
Number of pages24
JournalReligion and Gender
Volume2
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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