Accepted paper:

“Women at a loss” – twenty-five years later

Author:

Aud Talle (University of Oslo)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is a continuation of fieldwork I did among the pastoral Maasai of Kenya in the 1980’s. The title of the paper suggests a longitudinal methodological approach, of which family biographies and individual life careers constitute a major part. I use this long-term engagement with the field to debate both social change as well as continuity in the context of a minority population.

Paper long abstract:

This paper is a continuation of fieldwork I did among the pastoral Maasai of Kenya in the 1980’s. The title of the paper suggests a longitudinal methodological approach, of which family biographies and individual life careers constitute a major part. I use this long-term engagement with the field to debate both social change as well as continuity in the context of a minority population. The paper focuses particularly female identity making and women’s management of household and family resources. Considerable changes in life circumstances have taken place in the study sites over this quarter of a century. Two factors in particular are interesting for the discussion in this paper: 1) increased sales of both male and female labour, and 2) widespread evangelisation, not least among the women. The paper especially aspires to discuss how men and women in shifting contexts of pastoral production negotiate spaces of autonomy and power. Earlier findings of female marginalisation and loss of influence within the pastoral sector will be set against recent observations.

panel W114
Returning to the field: experiences and dilemmas in re-studies