Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Versioning Womanhood and Muslimhood: ‘Fashion’ and the Life Course in Contemporary Bouaké, Côte D'ivoire

  • Marie Nathalie LeBlanc
Abstract

On the strength of research in 1992–95 and 1998 this article discusses the way Muslim women dress in Bouaké, Côte D'Ivoire, and what it tells us about the trajectory of their lives and view of the world. Arguing that fashion is emblematic of processes of identification, it seeks to explain how young women come to be situated and position themselves in these processes. To do so, it examines the processes through a life course analysis that takes into account local versionings of tradition and aesthetics, Muslim cosmology and ideals of Western modernity. The article shows that as young women gain social maturity and assume the socially defined status of adult they dress and act increasingly in a manner that emphasises Muslim identity. The various ways in which they use dress reflect the stance they adopt towards competing versionings of Islam.

A travers l'étude empirique de la mode et des pratiques vestimentaires, cet article examine les trajectoires de vie et le milieu de vie de jeunes Musulmanes dans la ville de Bouaké, Côte D'Ivoire. La discussion provient de données ethnographiques recueillies entre 1992 et 1995, et en 1998. Tout en proposant que les choix vestimentaires sont emblématiques de processus D'identification qui marquent à la fois l'individu et la communauté, l'article cherche à cerner les modalités de l'insertion de ces jeunes femmes dans ces processus. Pour ce faire, l'auteur utilise l'approche de l'analyse du cours de la vie (“life course analysis”) D'où ressortent les divers espaces identitaires qui marquent les trajectoires de vie de ces jeunes femmes. Ces espaces s'articulent autour des constructions locales de la tradition et de l'esthétique, de la cosmologie islamique et des idéaux de la modernité. Cette analyse mène à deux conclusions. Dans un premier temps, l'acquisition D'une maturité sociale et l'insertion dans le statut social D'adulte entraînent une surenchère des identités islamiques, exprimées à travers les pratiques vestimentaires. De plus, les choix vestimentaires expriment une prise de position face aux divergentes notions de l'Islam.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Bastian, Misty L. 1996. ‘Female ‘Alhajis’ and entrepreneurial fashions: flexible identities in south-eastern Nigerian clothing practices’, in Hendrickson, H. (ed.), Clothing and Difference: embodied identities in colonial and post-colonial Africa, pp. 97132. Durham NC and London: Duke University Press.
Bertaux, Daniel. 1982. ‘The life course approach as a challenge to the social sciences’, in Hareven, T. K. and Adams, K. J. (eds), Aging and Life Course Transitions: an interdisciplinary perspective, pp. 127–50. New York and London: Guilford Press.
Bickford, E. K. 1994. ‘The City, the Village, and the Wearing of Factory-printed Textiles in Côte D'Ivoire’. Unpublished paper for the annual meeting of the African Studies Association, Toronto, November.
Blion, Reynald. 1995. ‘Les Burkinabé de Côte-d'Ivoire: entre “intégration” et circulation migratoire’, Mondes en développement 23 (91), 8193.
Bredeloup, Sylvie. 1996. ‘Les Sénégalais de Côte-d'Ivoire face aux redéfinitions de l'ivoirité’, Studi emigrazionelEtudes migrations 33 (121), 224.
Brenner, Louis. 1993. ‘La culture arabo-islamique au Mali’, in Otayek, René (ed.), Le Radicalisme islamique au sud du Sahara: Da'wa, arabisation et critique de l'Occident, pp. 161–95. Paris: Karthala, and Talence: MSHA.
Jean, Comaroff, and John, Comaroff (eds). 1990. ‘Introduction’, in Modernity and its Malcontents: ritual and power in postcolonial Africa, pp. xi-xxxvii. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
Copans, Jean. 1990. La Longue Marche de la modernité africaine. Paris: Karthala.
Cordwell, Justine M., and Schwarz, Ronald A. (eds). 1979. The Fabrics of Culture: the anthropology of clothing and adornment. The Hague: Mouton.
Cruise O'Brien, Donal. 1996. ‘A lost generation? Youth identity and state decay in West Africa’, in Werbner, Richard and Ranger, Terence (eds), Postcolonial Identities in Africa, pp. 5574. London and Atlantic Highlands NJ: Zed Books.
Diaw, T. 1992. ‘Les jeunes, la religion, la spiritualité: formes D'encadrement habituelles, nouveaux groupements (sectes): le cas du Sénégal’, in d'Almeida-Topor, H.et al. (eds), Les Jeunes en Afrique: la politique et la ville II, pp. 333–46. Paris: Harmattan.
van Dijk, Rijk. 1998. ‘Pentacostalism, cultural memory and the state: contested representations of time in postcolonial Malawi’, in Werbner, Richard (ed.), Memory and the Postcolony: African anthropology and the critique of power, pp. 155–81. London: Zed Books.
Eicher, Joanne B. 1995. ‘Introduction: dress as expression of ethnic identity’, in Eicher, J. B. (ed.), Dress and Ethnicity: change across space and time, pp. 15. Oxford and Washington DC: Berg.
Elder, Glen. 1978. ‘Family history and the life-course’, in Hareven, T. K. (ed.), Transitions: the family and the life course in historical perspective, pp. 1764. New York: Academic Press.
Elder, Glen. 1987. ‘Families and lives: some developments in life-course studies’, in Hareven, Tamara and Plakans, Andrejs (eds), Family History at the Crossroads: a Journal of Family History reader, pp. 181–99. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
Featherstone, MikeLash, Scott, and Robertson, Roland (eds). 1995. Global Modernities. London: Sage.
Gallissot, René. 1987. ‘Sous l'identité, le procès D'identification’, L'Homme et la société 83, 1227.
Geschiere, Peter. 1997. The Modernity of Witchcraft: politics and the occult in postcolonial Africa. Charlottesville VA and London: University Press of Virginia.
Grégoire, Emmanuel. 1993. ‘L'encadrement et l'insertion des jeunes par les filières marchandes et religieuses dans une ville sahélienne: Maradi, Niger’, in Le Bris, E. and Chauveau, F. (eds), Jeunes ville emplois: quel avenir pour la jeunesse africaine? ( Actes D'un colloque organisé par le Ministère de la coopération et du développement, Paris, October 1992), pp. 168–72.
Hansen, Karen Tranberg. 1995. ‘Transnational biographies and local meaning: used clothing practices in Lusaka’, Journal of Southern African Studies 21 (1), 131–45.
Hareven, Tamara K. 1974. ‘The family as a process: the historical study of the family cycle’, Journal of Social History 7 (3), 322–9.
Hareven, Tamara K. 1978. ‘Cycles, courses and cohorts: reflections on theoretical and methodological approaches to the historical study of family development’, Journal of Social History 12, 97109.
Hareven, Tamara K. 1991. ‘The history of the family and the complexity of social change’, American Historical Review 96 (1), 95124.
Hendrickson, Hildi. 1996. ‘Introduction’, in Hendrickson, H. (ed.), Clothing and Difference: embodied identities in colonial and post-colonial Africa, pp. 116. Durham NC and London: Duke University Press.
Jackson, Michael. 1996. ‘Introduction’, in Jackson, M. (ed.), Things as they are: new perspectives in phenomenological anthropology, pp. 150. Bloomington and Indianapolis IN: Indiana University Press.
Kaba, Lansiné. 1974. The Wahhabiyya. Evanston IL: Northwestern University Press.
Kane, Ousman. 1993. ‘Les mouvements islamiques et le champ politique au nord du Nigeria: le cas du mouvement Izàla à Kano’. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Paris: Institut D'études politiques de Paris.
Kroese, W. T. 1976. The Origin of the Wax Block Print on the Coast of West Africa. Hengelo: Uitgerij Smith.
Last, Murray. 1992. ‘The power of youth, youth of power: notes on the religions of the young in northern Nigeria’, in D'Almeida-Topor, H.et al. (eds), Les Jeunes en Afrique: la politique et la ville II, pp. 375–99. Paris: Harmattan.
Launay, Robert. 1992. Beyond the Stream: Islam and society in a West African town. Berkeley CA, Los Angeles and Oxford: University of California Press.
LeBlanc, Marie Nathalie. 1996. ‘Etre Dioula à Bouaké, ou, Comment transiger divers reférénts identitaires: notes de retour de terrain’, Bulletin du GIDIS-CI, 14 (December), 5974.
LeBlanc, Marie Nathalie. 1998. ‘Islam, Youth and Changing Identities in Bouaké, Côte D'Ivoire’. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, London: University College London.
LeBlanc, Marie Nathalie. 1999. ‘The production of Islamic identities through knowledge claims in Bouaké, Côte D'Ivoire’, African Affairs 98 (393), 485508.
LeBlanc, Marie Nathalie. 2000. ‘Between Ethnicity, Religion and Citizenship: young Muslims in Côte D'Ivoire’. Unpublished paper for the 2000 Carter Lecture ‘Renegotiating Nation and Political Community in Africa at the Dawn of the new Millenium’, Gainesville FL: Centre for African Studies, University of Florida, February.
Lewis, Barbara C. 1996. ‘Islam and Ivoirien Citizenship in ‘Après-Houphouët’ Côte D'Ivoire’. Unpublished paper for the annual meeting of the African Studies Association, San Francisco, November.
Meyer, Birgit. 1998. ‘Make a complete break with the past: memory and postcolonial modernity in Ghanaian pentecostal discourse’, in Werbner, Richard (ed.), Memory and the Postcolony: African anthropology and the critique of power, pp. 182208. London: Zed Books.
Miller, Daniel. 1994. Modernity. An ethnographic approach: dualism and mass consumption in Trinidad. Oxford: Berg.
Miller, Daniel. (ed.). 1995. ‘Introduction: anthropology, modernity and consumption’, in Worlds Apart: modernity through the prism of the local, pp. 122. London and New York: Routledge.
Rosenmayr, Leopold. 1982. ‘Biography and identity’, in Hareven, Tamara K. and Adams, Kathleen J. (eds), Aging and Life Course Transitions: an interdisciplinary perspective, pp. 2753. New York and London: Guilford Press.
Rowlands, Michael. 1996. ‘The consumption of an African modernity’, in Arnoldi, Mary Joet al. (eds), African Material Culture, pp. 188213. Bloomington IN and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
Salvaing, B. 1992. ‘Les jeunes et le développement des madrasas au Fouta-Djalon face à la culture traditionnelle’, in D'Almeida-Topor, H.et al. (eds), Les Jeunes en Afrique: la politique et la ville II, pp. 430–42. Paris: Harmattan.
Schneider, Jane, and Weiner, Annette B. 1989. ‘Introduction’, in Weiner, A. B. and Schneider, J. (eds), Cloth and Human Experience, pp. 129. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institute Press.
Schoss, Johanna. 1996. ‘“Dressed to shine”: work, leisure, and style in Malindi, Kenya’, in Hendrickson, H. (ed.), Clothing and Difference: embodied identities in colonial and post-colonial Africa, pp. 157–88. Durham NC and London: Duke University Press.
Tilly, Charles. 1987. ‘Family history, social history, and social change’, in Hareven, Tamara and Plakans, Andrejs (eds), Family History at the Crossroads: a Journal of Family History reader, pp. 319–30. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
Tilly, Louise A. 1987. ‘Women's history and family history: fruitful collaboration or missed connection?’, in Hareven, Tamara and Plakans, Andrejs (eds.), Family History at the Crossroads: a Journal of Family History reader, pp. 303–15. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
Triaud, Jean-Louis. 1986. ‘Abd Al-Rahman l'africain, 1908–1957: pionnier et précurseur du Wahhabiisme au Mali’, in Carré, O. and Dumont, P. (eds), Radicalismes islamiques II, Maroc, Pakistan, Inde, Yougoslavie, Mali, pp. 162–81. Paris: Harmattan.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Africa
  • ISSN: 0001-9720
  • EISSN: 1750-0184
  • URL: /core/journals/africa
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed