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Men, Masculinity and Labour-Force Participation in Kaduna, Nigeria: Are There Positive Alternatives to the Provider Role?

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Part of the Global Masculinities book series (GLMAS)

Abstract

The capitalist-based masculine provider norm reached Nigeria with missionaries and colonial agents and has since become integral to Nigerian manhood, although economic circumstances have prevented the majority of men from being able to meet this norm. Since the late 1980s, neoliberal-based structural adjustment has degraded educational standards and reduced employment opportunities. In Kaduna today most jobs are insecure and low paid, particularly for youths, many of whom loiter on street corners, available for incorporation into sectarian violence. Attempts to remedy this through skills training have failed. A project I ran from 2007 to 2011 used participatory gender/masculinity analysis to help young men withstand pressures towards violence, but removing the male breadwinner norm to permit couples to share economic provision in order to decrease poverty would require a major transformation.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    For more details, see Harris (2012b, 2013, 2016).

  2. 2.

    By patriarchy I mean a structure based on the European political ideology of masculinism. This is the ‘ideology that justifies and naturalizes male domination … Masculinism takes it for granted that there is a fundamental difference between men and women, it assumes that heterosexuality is normal, it accepts without question the sexual division of labour, and it sanctions the political and dominant role of men in the public and private spheres. Moreover … it tends to be relatively resistant to change’ (Brittan 1989: 4).

  3. 3.

    Personal communication from Maji Peterx of the non-governmental organisation Carefronting.

  4. 4.

    This situation was doubly contradictory. Nigerian men claimed to be proud of their wives’ earning capacity but shamed into wanting to destroy it by the white men’s notions of superior masculinity, while the white men wished to maintain their supremacy by refusing Nigerian men the same status (Lindsay 2003).

  5. 5.

    Personal communication by the researcher Noelle Oputa.

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Harris, C. (2018). Men, Masculinity and Labour-Force Participation in Kaduna, Nigeria: Are There Positive Alternatives to the Provider Role?. In: Walker, C., Roberts, S. (eds) Masculinity, Labour, and Neoliberalism. Global Masculinities. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-63172-1_2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-63172-1_2

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