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Male Headship as Male Agency: An Alternative Understanding of a ‘Patriarchal’ African Pentecostal Discourse on Masculinity

Author:

Adriaan S. van Klinken

Utrecht University, NL
About Adriaan
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Religious Studies and Theology, Faculty of Humanities.
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Abstract

In some Christian circles in Africa, male headship is a defining notion of masculinity. The central question in this article is how discourses on masculinity that affirm male headship can be understood. A review of recent scholarship on masculinities and religion shows that male headship is often interpreted in terms of male dominance. However, a case study of sermons in a Zambian Pentecostal church shows that discourse on male headship can be far more complex and can even contribute to a transformation of masculinities. The main argument is that a monolithic concept of patriarchy hinders a nuanced analysis of the meaning and function of male headship in local contexts. The suggestion is that in some contexts, male headship can be understood in terms of agency.

DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/rg.19
How to Cite: van Klinken, A.S., (2011). Male Headship as Male Agency: An Alternative Understanding of a ‘Patriarchal’ African Pentecostal Discourse on Masculinity. Religion and Gender. 1(1), pp.104–124. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/rg.19
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Published on 09 Sep 2011.
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