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Gender, Discourse and Power in the Cameroonian Parliament

by Lilian Lem Atanga

This book investigates gender and power relations in the Cameroonian parliament using a critical discourse analytical approach, which focuses on social issues and seeks to expose unequal relations within institutions. The study identifies different gendered discourses within the speeches of Members of Parliament and government ministers. Consciously or unconsciously, these participants within parliamentary debates draw on topics that construct women and men in specific ways, sometimes sustaining gender stereotypes or challenging existing conditions. The way men and women are constructed using language also is indicative of gender and power relations within this particular community. The study also looks at the way men and women are constructed using traditional discourses of gender differentiation and how some of these discourses get challenged, appropriated or subverted using progressive gendered discourses that advocate equal opportunities, gender equality and gender partnership in development.

ISBN 9789956615469 | 278 pages | 216 x 140 mm | 2009 | Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon | Paperback



“An insightful critical analysis of gendered parliamentary discourse that foregrounds characteristic dominant  discourse strategies, arguments and rhetorical devices employed ostensibly to construct, entrench, sustain and a legitimise patriarchal socio-cultural hegemonies, and on the other hand, equivalent discursive  strategies employed by female MPs to resist, counter, subvert and deconstruct dominant gendered discourse in the direction of ‘gender partnership’. This makes the work, an outstanding powerful critical analysis of the discourse of gender and power relations and a major contribution to the gender and power debate in the developing world.”

Sammy Beban Chumbow, Professor of Language and Linguistics, University of Yaounde, Cameroon

“This book is a pioneering study … and major contribution not only to the study of social change in Africa, but also to gender and political linguistics.”

Dr. Piet Konings

“In Gender, Discourse and Power in the Cameroonian Parliament, Lem Lilian Atanga has made an important, substantial and original contribution to the fast-growing gender and language field. As the field now encompasses public as well as private settings, the focus on the parliament is very timely. With this book, Dr Atanga has shown herself to be a key figure in the promotion of the study of language and gender in African contexts.”

Dr Jane Sunderland, Professor of Gender and Language, University of Lancaster, UK



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