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Mosadi Tshwene : the construction of gender and the consumption of alcohol in Botswana
American Ethnologist (1996)
  • David N. Suggs, Kenyon College
Abstract
The capitalist economy of Botswana has made alcohol a commodity and thereby altered the cultural meaning of its consumption. Where it was formerly a key symbol of cooperative and familial agricultural production, as well as of the patriarchal and gerontocratic control of labor, today it is more symbolic of competition and individual success in a cash economy. Within the changed economic context, however, both men and women connect current drinking behaviors to “traditional” gender roles, even if they sometimes do so in different ways. Men continue to view drinking as an ascribed right associated with their gender. Women continue to see it as a privilege earned by demonstrated competence. That the BaTswana present today's drinking as continuous with that of the past underscores the malleability of “tradition” as a symbol.
Keywords
  • botswana,
  • alcohol,
  • gender roles,
  • acculturation,
  • aging
Publication Date
January 8, 1996
DOI
10.1525/ae.1996.23.3.02a00080
Citation Information
David N. Suggs. "Mosadi Tshwene : the construction of gender and the consumption of alcohol in Botswana" American Ethnologist Vol. 23 Iss. 3 (1996) p. 597 - 610
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david_suggs/8/