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Indiana University (2020)

Women’s Participation in Community Life and Politics in Mali and Burkina Faso : French Colonial Legacies and Contemporary Associational Life

Johnson, Cathryn Evangeline

Titre : Women’s Participation in Community Life and Politics in Mali and Burkina Faso : French Colonial Legacies and Contemporary Associational Life

Auteur : Johnson, Cathryn Evangeline

Université de soutenance  : Indiana University.

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 2020

Résumé
This project asks why women in Burkina Faso participate more in politics than women in neighboring Mali. To answer this question, it draws on archival sources from the French colonial period and contemporary data generated during immersive field research in comparable rural villages in a cross-border zone. Both Mali and Burkina Faso share a history of French colonization. However, residents of these colonies did not necessarily experience French colonial rule in the same way. Coordinated, violent resistance to French colonial rule continued into the 20th century in the densely populated, small territory of Upper Volta (Burkina Faso), which, unlike Soudan (Mali), French colonial officials viewed as a labor reservoir for projects throughout French West Africa. After the Second World War, the French colonial regime implemented political reforms that allowed for the beginning of competitive party politics in its different West African colonies. Consequently, enduring differences emerged in how colonial subjects participated in politics and engaged with the state. A more inclusive political party and civil society landscape developed in what would become Burkina Faso, while a less inclusive political party and civil society landscape developed in what would become Mali. Contemporary Burkinabe are more likely to participate in politics and engage with the Burkinabe state, while the inverse is generally true for contemporary Malians.

At the local level in comparable rural research sites, different patterns of political participation are present. These differences are linked to the colonial past and the local dynamics of women’s livelihood options in the present. Women’s engagement within similarly structured savings and credit associations illuminates the different patterns of political participation. In Burkina Faso, savings and credit associations generate more political participation ; women association members attend local government meetings and make claims on the local government to support them as women and as farmers who experience livelihood insecurity. In Mali, savings and credit associations provide women with economic security. Drawing on this security, Malian women pursue a diverse portfolio of livelihood options that span the calendar year. Malian women are less likely to participate in politics to address their needs ; however, Malian women express more confidence and interest in running for local elected office than women in Burkina Faso. This project highlights how expectations of local government and the experience of livelihood security (or insecurity) affects how women respond to opportunities for political participation that exist in their respective communities. Notably, these forms of political participation often occur outside of electoral politics and at the group level, drawing attention to the need to look beyond common measures of individual-level political participation and the dominant focus on elections and electoral politics.

Présentation (ProQuest)

Page publiée le 10 juin 2021