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Title: Gender and embodied mobility : learning in Tarsaw, northern Ghana
Author: Flanary, Rachel Maria
ISNI:       0000 0001 3468 3557
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2003
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In many rural areas of Africa, people rely on intermediate means of transport (IMTs) or walking and head-loading to transport themselves and their produce, due to the limited availability of motorised forms of transport. IMTs have been increasingly seen as a way of improving rural accessibility, mobility and subsequently food security (Doran, 1990, 1996; Riverson and Carapetis, 1991; Starkey, 2000,2001) and a counter to earlier transport projects that overwhelmingly focused on infrastructure. Donors have invested significantly in IMT promotion since this time. There is particular interest in promoting IMT use among women because of their disproportionately heavy transport burden, low income and often restricted access to motorised transport (Bryceson and Howe, 1993). However, despite this recent interest, the uptake, success and overall sustainability of IMT schemes have been, on the whole, disappointing (Starkey, 2000). IMT projects have generally failed to take account of the gendered nature of transport tasks, or the underlying power relations that constrain or assist mobility and access to transport in different cultural and socio-economic situations. The performance of transport tasks is embedded in a wider social and cultural situation in which individual's carry out particular roles and responsibilities. This thesis seeks to explore the complexity of women's travel and mobility, within the context of Tarsaw in Upper West, Ghana. In Tarsaw, rural mobility has been revolutionised by the bicycle and through the gradual introduction of animal traction and bullock-drawn carts over the last thirty to forty years. Despite these changes, there are clearly quite serious inequalities between men and women in accessing places and resources, since women have little or no access to motorised or intermediate forms of transport and continue to carry their supplies on their heads. In Tarsaw, as in much of rural Ghana, women do not own any means of transport apart from their feet, and have very little money with which to pay for the use of public transport. Furthermore, there are limited opportunities for women to borrow IMTs, or other means of transport, from their husbands, brothers, or other family member. This thesis seeks to understand why women suffer in this way, despite women's greater burden of transport. This thesis focuses on the gendered and embodied nature of mobility (embedded within everyday life), rather than the actual mechanics of getting from A to B. The thesis provides an ethnography of life in a rural area of Ghana, giving substance to the lived and embodied experience of mobility for men and women and setting this within a broader framework of gender roles and relations. This thesis seeks to discuss particular issues at the intersection of gender, embodiment and mobility, bringing in various aspects of social theory and feminist thought.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available