Gender Roles in Nigeria’s Non-Violent Oil Resistance Movement
Laine Munir (2020) Gender roles in Nigeria’s non-violent oil resistance movement, Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue canadienne des études africaines, DOI: 10.1080/00083968.2020.1718512.
26 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2020
Date Written: October 25, 2019
Since the 1980s, Nigerians have engaged in non-violent protests against oil exploitation polluting their lands. This qualitative case study asks why Niger Delta women came to engage in seemingly separate, all-female protests starting in 2002, mobilizing in a long-standing resistance previously led by men. Using grounded theory methods, this multi-site ethnography draws on one-on-one interviews, participant observations, and university and non-governmental organization archival data. It finds that although women were indeed aggrieved by oil, their protests from 2002 to 2012 did not emerge autonomously from those of men, as described in scholarship elsewhere. Rather, these findings indicate that male elites may have had a role in initiating women’s collective action in response to their own failed prior negotiations, to increase the number of protesters, and to bolster men’s dialogue. This study provides a nuanced corrective to the Niger Delta narrative and expands our understanding of gender dynamics in social movements.
Keywords: women; protest; Nigeria; environmental conflict; grounded theory
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