Gendered Identities in Gikuyu Marriage Negotiation Discursive Domain
Kinuthia, Jane Wanjiku; Wathika, Lucy; Yakobo, J.K.Mutiti

The practice of bridal payment has since time immemorial remained an important feature of heterosexual marriages in many human cultural practices. In contemporary Kenyan Law on marriage and divorce, bridal negotiation and payment is regarded as central evidence of the validity of customary marriage and in the establishment of the legality of such union. Gendered identities in this case refer to the social and cultural construction of the femininities and masculinities perspectives which are known to influence and shape the practices of social institutions. This paper focuses on the formal discursive process of negotiating and legalising marriage in the domain of ‘Ruracio’ or bride wealth payment amongst the Agikuyu of Kenya. Data consisted of five recorded discourses from sampled negotiation sessions and five focus group discussions from Kiambu County, Kenya. The data collected was translated, transcribed and analysed with a view of investigating language use for gendered identities and their implication on society. Guided by principles in discourse historical approach, the study established that language use in this domain defines gender roles, perspectives and identities which are useful in constructing individual and societal identity. It is hoped that these findings will benefit the general public as they interact linguistically. 199 words

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/ijlc.v3n2a13