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By Bernedette Muthien Decolonising Indigenous Feminist Methodologies & the Feminist Gift Economy.

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Presentation on theme: "By Bernedette Muthien Decolonising Indigenous Feminist Methodologies & the Feminist Gift Economy."— Presentation transcript:

1 By Bernedette Muthien Decolonising Indigenous Feminist Methodologies & the Feminist Gift Economy

2 Direct or Personal Violence - Peace Structural or Indirect Violence - Peace Figure 2.1. Johan Galtungs Triangle of Violence-Peace, 1996. Cultural Violence - Peace Intersectionalities: all things are interconnected & interdependent

3 * Direct violence means a physical attack on ones person, and direct peace is obviously the presence of physical safety (i.e. freedom from physical attack, one of the cornerstones of the notion of national security). * Structural peace is freedom from structural violences such as racism, sexism and heterosexualisation. * Cultural peace is the knowledge that our very cultures and mindsets are free of violence and prejudice of any kind. Each form of violence-peace is inextricably connected and dependent on the other two forms. E.g. one cant have cultural peace while experiencing physical violence, or have direct peace while cultural violence persists, because the prejudice may very well inform the attack. E.g. there is no colonial war being waged against farmworkers, nor are they (meant to be) whipped as they were under formal slavery, yet the tot system persists, and farmworkers remain trapped in poverty and dependence due to persistently low wages and geographical isolation. Similarly lesbians in our townships are being raped and murdered despite our progressive Constitution.

4 Genevieve Vaughans Feminist Gift Economy Mothering : A mother carries a growing child for 9 months, gives birth under extreme conditions, then nourishes and nurtures the child throughout its life. This mothering is done without remuneration or similar reward, or indeed of expectation of such reward. VS the Exchange system (capitalism), in which one usually exchanges ones labour for wages, goods and services for cash.

5 Exchange SystemGift Economy CapitalistAnti-capitalist Patriarchal, based on dominationFeminist, women-centred, mother-centred Exploitative, i.e. what is the most profit I can make for the least amount of investment Renewing, i.e. giving selflessly, e.g. giving life through birth and maintaining life through breastfeeding. Satisfying the dominant persons need/s, a bit like most patriarchal sexual relations Satisfying the needs of others, and thus satisfying ones needs, i.e. satisfying ones needs through satisfying others needs Reciprocity, multilateral exchange, i.e. either party is compelled to exchange with the other. Unilateral giving, i.e. giving without desiring a return. Emphasis on Exchange, like trade, barter [1], deal. [1] Emphasis on Giving, as in gift. Visible, e.g. bank balances and other physical/financial investments Invisible, e.g. housekeeping, child rearing, supporting spouses and childrens careers, etc. A bit like womens work under capitalism. [1] [1] Bartering is an intermediary phase between the ancient gift economy and modern capitalism. The pure gift economy is unilateral, whereas bartering and reciprocity is multilateral exchange.

6 Ubuntu: Isi Zulu: umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu ("a person is a person through other persons") Shona (Zimbabwe): unhu. My happiness depends on your happiness; I am sad when you are sad; I cannot be happy unless we are all happy. I affirm my humanity by recognising and respecting the humanity of others; my humanity is inextricably connected to yours. Across Africa and in all indigenous societies in the world. In Native American languages: Iroquoian, Royaner in Mohawk, Hoyane in Seneca John Donnes poem: no man is an island entire of itself… (Meditation 17) Khoe Khoe = A person of people; I am because I belong. Khoe!na in Khomani San (Kalahari). Gift. Less an economy or philosophy; more a way of being, life itself, at root of society, even among homeless people in Cape Town – Siv Oevernes.

7 Decolonising Indigenous (Feminist) Methodologies Indigenous research is a humble and humbling activity - Linda Tuhiwai Smith Reclaim ancestral knowledge; Deal with vicarious trauma (cellular memory); Clear the air of all Colonial thought processes (Decolonise spaces); Critical Intimacy vs Scholarly Indifference (Rauna Kuokkanen); Multiple discourses, individual & collective experiences; Feminist Standpoint Theory (Sandra Harding, Patricia Hill Collins); bell hooks visionary feminism – imagining beyond this reality; Reclaim Intuition; cooperation, complementarity Reclaim SPIRIT (different to patriarchal religions); Reclaim Sacredness of Femininity (Womb – potential power to create life); Share & gift - knowledge & other resources. Speak out, act, against injustices.

8 Women shall be considered the progenitors of the Nation. They shall own the land and the soil - The Constitution of the Five Nations (1600s) Gender Egalitarian – Feminine Divine: Normative nonviolence, social & gender egalitarianism, still evident in oral history & practice. E.g. Khoe Nama San. Lahu (China). Iroquois. Minangkabau (Indonesia). Khoe-Nama-San oumas echo narratives of women elders in other egalitarian societies, including… Stories of womens strength and power. Goddesses (feminine deities) – Our Lady of the River. Sacred femininity that can move mountains. Women have potential to create life life creation is sacred women are sacred (creators). Women and men are equal, and each must respect the other (KhoeKhoe: Men, Women, Humans). Inter-generational respect beyond nuclear families. Ancient principles of nonviolence as norm (direct, structural, cultural). Khoe!na, interconnectedness, interdependence, sharing, caring, gifting. I am the one who knows that the women are the rich ones and the wise ones - //Kabbo.

9 Reclaiming Ancient Values Sacred feminine; Interconnectedness & interdependence; //Kabbos I am heavens thing; Existence as gift of all to all (stars, sun, moon, humans); We are all related, Kalahari cousins; We are one consciousness; we need united consciousness; Nelson Mandela: my liberation your freedoms; Alternatives to current hegemonies. Alternative political practice: Respect & gifting; Gender & social egalitarianism; Normative nonviolence; Genders & sexualities fluidities (man, woman, human); Central: ubuntu – all humanities & freedoms inextricably connected.

10 Revolutionaries on Compassion ~ Love: (feeling with) Karl Marx: Liberation is the complete emancipation of all the human qualities and senses, which include not only the five senses, but the so-called spiritual senses, the practical senses (desiring, loving). Frantz Fanon: May it be possible for me to discover and to love man, wherever he may be. Ernesto (Che) Guevara: the great revolutions are those revolutions guided by the basic principles of love. Angela Y Davis: tenderness as the essence of the [pre-capitalist indigenous] relation, love alone is impotent, yet without it, no revolutionary process could ever be truly authentic Pregs Govender: Politics of Love & Courage. Audre Lorde: we cannot separate the struggles for liberation because it is, eventually, all human liberation – when I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.


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