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Title: Gender and development through local epistemologies : understanding conjugal violence among orthodox Tawahedo Christians in northern Ethiopia and implications for changing attitudes and norms within local worldviews
Author: Istratii, Romina
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 6581
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis presents a study of conjugal abuse from the Ethiopian Orthodox Täwahedo community of Aksum in Tigray region. The research was motivated by epistemological concerns emanating from gender theoretical constructs employed widely in international development, including also studies of intimate partner violence (IPV). The first concern emanates from the field"s historical reliance on gender theories that have been disproportionately informed by western gender metaphysics. This has combined with tendencies to neglect religious parameters in the study of IPV, assuming typically gender-based explanations that do not heed sufficiently the diverse cosmological contexts in which IPV manifests. Without denying its possible gendered underpinnings, it is suggested that the investigation of IPV should be guided by beliefs and knowledge as embodied by local populations. Consequently, the current study attempted a gender-sensitive analysis of conjugal abuse in the countryside of Aksum that relied on the local cosmological and socio-cultural system to formulate conceptual repertoires for gender and conjugal abuse and to identify how these were accommodated within the local religio-cultural cosmology. Ethnographic investigations were combined with a theology-informed analysis from 'within'. Tigray was selected for study because it has combined a doctrinally non-violent faith with high levels of wife-hitting and tolerance of it. A primary concern was to explore the interlinkages between the folklore Christian tradition and conjugal abuse realities and attitudes to identify whether and how theology-informed and clergy-centred interventions could be relevant for this society. This reflects the argument of this dissertation that interventions should emanate from local belief and knowledge systems and be enacted through resources that are likely to make sense to and have some credibility with the local population. The research revealed complex intertwinements between religious parameters and conjugal abuse, indicating the potential role of apostolic theology and clergy discourses in addressing conjugal abuse under specific conditions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral