Once Intrepid Warriors: Gender, Ethnicity, and the Cultural Politics of Maasai Development
By: Dorothy L. Hodgson
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Drawing on archival sources as well as extensive fieldwork in Tanzania, Dorothy L. Hodgson explores the way identity, development, and gender have interacted over time to make the Maasai what they are today....Read more
Drawing on archival sources as well as extensive fieldwork in Tanzania, Dorothy L. Hodgson explores the way identity, development, and gender have interacted over time to make the Maasai what they are today. By situating the Maasai in the larger political, economic, and social context of Kenya and world events, Hodgson shows how broader forces have had an impact on the construction of Maasai lifeways, especially gender relations. Hodgson pays particular attention to how development has affected Maasai lives. Development is not seen as a fixed practice, but as a historical process that reflects the larger forces at play, and critical assumptions by government and development officials, such as the belief in Maasai exceptionalism - that they must be maintained as a warrior nation, have determined the types of development schemes that were believed to be most beneficial to the Maasai.But rather than reinforce the vision of intrepid warriors, development has instead performed a key role in creating new gender hierarchies, new responses to the pressures of modernity, and ambivalent attitudes toward education and local, national, and international politics.
Interspersed throughout Hodgson's narrative are brief profiles of Maasai men and women. These intimate portraits bring Maasai voices to life and show that they were never passive participants in their own history. "Once Intrepid Warriors" reflects the complexity and variability of Maasai society as it has responded to outside interventions and internal struggles over how to protect Maasai interests in a changing world.
Once Intrepid Warriors advances a brilliantly persuasive critique of development among the Maasai... This historical ethnography is a tour de force, counter-balancing the analysis of cultural,...Read more
Once Intrepid Warriors advances a brilliantly persuasive critique of development among the Maasai... This historical ethnography is a tour de force, counter-balancing the analysis of cultural, political, and socio-economic transformation over the longue duree with intimate and memorable portraits of representative individuals." --Richard Werbner "In a series of chapters on the interrelationships of ethnicity, gender, and 'modernity,' Hodgson concludes that it is not the Maasai who have remained static, but rather the external images of them." --Choice "... meticulous and well-documented ... a valuable resource..." --Africa
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