Title

Mosadi Tshwene : the construction of gender and the consumption of alcohol in Botswana

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

January 1996

Abstract

The capitalist economy of Botswana has made alcohol a commodity and thereby altered the cultural meaning of its consumption. Where it was formerly a key symbol of cooperative and familial agricultural production, as well as of the patriarchal and gerontocratic control of labor, today it is more symbolic of competition and individual success in a cash economy. Within the changed economic context, however, both men and women connect current drinking behaviors to “traditional” gender roles, even if they sometimes do so in different ways. Men continue to view drinking as an ascribed right associated with their gender. Women continue to see it as a privilege earned by demonstrated competence. That the BaTswana present today's drinking as continuous with that of the past underscores the malleability of “tradition” as a symbol.

Journal

American Ethnologist

Volume

23

Issue

3

First Page

597

Last Page

610

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