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Thought and Practice: A Journal of the Philosophical Association of Kenya

Volume 2, Issue 1, June 2010

Pascah Mungwini, Kudzai Matereke
Pages 1-19

Rape, sexual politics and the construction of manhood among the Shona of Zimbabwe: Some philosophical reflections

This paper interrogates the language that mediates sex and sexuality among the Shona of Zimbabwe. It draws from the method of ordinary language philosophy to argue that culture, and specifically language, can constitute an effective incubator for the emotions that result in rape. Further, the paper shows how the constructions of masculinity among the Shona render the female body a subject of male dominance. The paper contends that culture, through the stories that it tells about sex and the language it uses to tell them, has a strong potential to initiate and sustain emotions and behavior that lead to rape. However, this predatory behaviour can be struggled against and contested by revisiting the language that society uses in the important domain of sex.

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