Title: "Madam Speaker, these are colleagues who are learning to speak, can I allow them to speak?": Gendered performances and ethnographic observations in the Parliament of Uganda
Authors: Amon Ashaba Mwiine
Addresses: Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Abstract: This paper is based on an ethnographic study I conducted in the Parliament of Uganda in 2016. It draws on observation of live parliamentary debates to investigate ways gender power relations are played out in everyday public interactions between and among female and male legislators and how these performances construct and reproduce parliament as a difficult place for female legislators to engage in be taken seriously. Informed by narrative analysis and feminist theories of gender performativity, the paper argues for and seeks to exemplify a methodological and analytical approach which focuses not just on what women and men say, but also how they say it and the emotions conveyed. Findings indicate how male MPs disrupt and denigrate female colleagues through hilarity, bullying, jeers, and cheers. The paper argues that repeated male MPs' infantilisation and trivialisation of female MPs' actions point to how problematic parliament is for women. Thus, it is hardly surprising that female MPs at times opt for men to introduce and speak to motions concerned with promoting women's rights.
Keywords: gender; power; male champions; performativity; ethnography of parliament; parliamentary debates.
International Journal of Gender Studies in Developing Societies, 2019 Vol.3 No.1, pp.60 - 74
Received: 23 Oct 2017
Accepted: 24 Aug 2018
Published online: 06 Nov 2018 *