Poverty, masculine violence, and the transformation of men: Ethnographic notes from Kenyan Slums

Carolyne P. Egesa, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)
Chimaraoke O. Izugbara, African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC)

The intersections of violence and masculinity have been studied in a variety of social contexts. Missing in these studies, however, are grounded accounts of how a hazardous sense of threatened masculinity and notions of masculine dignity constructed around interpersonal violence become part of the everyday thinking of some men. Drawing on ethnographic data from our fieldwork in the slums of Kenya, we link masculine violence to the dynamic association, which men make, between their private and shared marginalization and livelihood misfortunes and the everyday cruelty of others as well as the invasive belief that one has to both vigorously resist violence and deploy it in order to be safe. We conclude that inattention to poor men’s needs for improved livelihoods remains a key limitation of current programmatic work aiming to transform them.

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Presented in Session 99: Gender-based violence