Legal Pluralities and Interlegality in Tanzania: Maasai Women’s Property Rights
Ingen, E.P. van
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This thesis concerns an ethnographic research on Maasai women’s property rights in Arusha, Tanzania. Interlegality is tightly connected with issues of gender equality in the Tanzania context. The actual character of interlegality influences the way people experience justice in their lives. For Maasai women in particular, the intersection of state legal systems, customary laws, and local power dynamics create processes that affect their ability to access their rights. Different legal discourses circulate and have been engaged, appropriated, challenged and reworked in the Maasai community, and take part in the construction of Maasai women’s property rights. We explored the ways in which Maasai women made resort to legal and quasi-legal norms, instruments, processes and discourses in order to obtain access justice. Different rights may be invoked, but the extent to which they are reasonable depends on multiple factors, including complex historical legacies and power relations. It is therefore important to analyze how different women are able to negotiate to protect and promote their interest within legally plural settings, and what this means for gender equality.