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Hegemonic African Masculinities and Men’s Heterosexual Lives: Some Uses for Homophobia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 August 2014

Abstract:

Based on two relatively well-reported cases of homophobia in Malawi and South Africa, this article aims to show some of the ways in which hegemonic African men and masculinities are unsettled by, but also find ideological use for, the existence of homosexuality and nonheteronormative sexualities. Deploying the notion of psychopolitics, the article traces the interpenetrating psychosocial and sociopolitical aspects of homophobia. The argument is that analyses of issues of lesbian, gay, and “othered” sexualities are vital for a fuller understanding of the production of hegemonic forms of gender and masculinity in Africa. The article suggests that the threat posed by homosexuality is used as a distraction for some of the socioeconomic development-related failures of Africa’s ruling men but also, more significantly, for the impossibility of hegemonic African masculinity itself.

Résumé:

En s’appuyant sur deux cas relativement bien médiatisés d’homophobie au Malawi et en Afrique du Sud, cet article vise à montrer quelques-unes des façons dont les hommes hégémoniques et les masculinités africains sont bouleversés, mais aussi à trouver une utilisation idéologique pour l’existence de l’homosexualité et des sexualités non hétéro-normatives. En exposant la notion de psycho-politique, l’article retrace les aspects psychosociaux et sociopolitiques entrelacés de l’homophobie. Une hypothèse de l’exposé est que les analyses des problèmes des lesbiennes, gays, et des sexualités de l’ “altérité” sont essentiels pour une compréhension plus complète de la production des formes hégémoniques de genre et de la masculinité en Afrique. L’article suggère que la menace posée par l’homosexualité est utilisée par dirigeants africains comme une distraction de leurs propres échecs socio-économiques liés au développement et aussi, de façon plus significative, de l’impossibilité même de la masculinité hégémonique africaine.

Type
ARTICLES
Copyright
Copyright © African Studies Association 2014 

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