Archive des actualités

The narrative of Kenya's ‘neglected’ boy child Isabel Pike – Rendez-vous de la recherche

Isabel Pike, The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva
December, 9 2021, 4PM-5.30PM
Isabel Pile_400x400.jpg

Narratives of Neglect: Kenya’s Boy Child and the Gendered Language of Grievance

In the wake of global development efforts to empower girls and women, a narrative has emerged in Kenya that “the boy child has been forgotten.” Drawing on media material and ethnographic interviews, this lecture examines how and why the narrative resonates amongst different constituencies, from gender equality advocates to men without work. Across this wide range of actors, the boy child narrative is often presented as a claim that is both unorthodox and authentic—a culturally pertinent counterpoint to more standard frames of vulnerability as stipulated, for example, in Kenya’s constitution or by international donors. As such, the narrative becomes a way to both speak for and from “the ground,” a term used across different discursive arenas. Despite their relationship to larger structures and social issues, these grievances are often about more intimate matters such as poor men turning to alcohol or adult sons failing to support their aging mothers. From this, I argue that the articulation of gendered grievance is contingent not only on perceptions of which framings of injustice are politically effective but also on cultural understandings more broadly of what hardship means to men and women.


About the speaker
Isabel Pike is an assistant professor in the Anthropology and Sociology (ANSO) department of the Graduate Institute, Geneva. Her research focuses on gender, development, and inequality in Africa, using both qualitative and quantitative methods. She received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020. Her current book project explores the contested narrative in Kenya that “the boy child has been forgotten” as a means to understand both reactions to social change as well as the ways that development discourse can be repurposed. Alongside the book, she has several parallel projects, focused on the life course. These projects explore the gendered and economic dynamics of marriage and romantic relationships, occupational gender segregation in the informal sector, and the theoretical and methodological challenges of research on youth.
8 décembre 2021
  Archive des actualités