Everyday peacebuilding among Ghanaian men: ambiguities, resistances and possibilities

by Isaac Dery, Cuthbert Baataar and Anisur Rahman Khan

15 Mar 2022
Journal of the British Academy
Digital Object Identifier
Number of pages
19 (pp. 35-53)

Abstract: Dominant peacebuilding scholarship and praxis tends to focus on African men’s adherence to violent fragile masculinities in conflict prone-societies, and African masculinities are often approached, analysed, measured and theorised through externally derived standards and concepts. This article, by contrast, investigates the extent to which men can contribute to everyday peacekeeping. It does so by drawing on ethnographic interviews with men in northwestern Ghana. It illuminates how discourses and practices of male headship and breadwinner, as everyday masculine subjectivities, may contribute to creating fruitful possibilities for everyday peacebuilding subjectivities of men at the micro-levels. The article argues that approaching African masculinities through externally designed frameworks risks impoverishing critical understanding of the tensions, ambiguities, resistances and contestations of multiple configurations of masculinities beyond liberal, western-centric conceptualisations of masculinities. It further highlights that critical intervention seeking to address the systems and structures that may legitimise, and re/produce violence and social disorder must invest in carefully rethinking the everyday struggles of men within their locatedness. Peacebuilding scholars should invest in broadening discourses and representations of masculinities by offering nuanced understandings of how men can and are embracing peaceful and nonviolent masculinities in their everyday meaning-making.

Keywords: Masculinities, peacebuilding, Ghana, gender, male headship.

Article posted to Journal of the British Academy, volume 10, supplementary issue 1 (Everyday peacebuilding and practices in Kenya, South Sudan, Somaliland and Ghana).

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