MALE FIELDS, FEMALE AGENCIES: An Analysis Of Women's Strategies In The Demasculinization Of Cocoa Plantations In Cameroon.
Perez Teran, A.S.
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Cocoa trees, a colonial crop nowadays very much embedded in global markets, is one of the very many hermaphrodite vegetable species. Ironically, the sociology around this cash crop has been very much shaped by gendered norms and power structures. Both economically and symbolically, cocoa farms have for a long time belonged to men—either European colonizers, or local men—while women provided their labor force. But recent changes in the global market, development policies, and understandings of gender systems are facilitating a flip in gender roles in the production and ownership of cocoa. This phenomenon has been observed in Cameroon, among other countries. However, some questions have not been explored enough in this new scenario. The questions this investigation seeks to explore are: How are Cameroonian women specifically managing to gain greater importance and stronger decision-making capacities in the production of cocoa? What can this process tell us about their agency in the demasculinization of cocoa fields? And how can we conceptualize this phenomenon without returning to the binary of resistance versus subordination? This research project aims at answering these questions on the basis of ethnographic research in conducted the commune of Ayos in Cameroon.