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Wodaabe Women And The Outside World

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Chapter Summary

One of the key questions treated in studies on female migration is whether mobility has an emancipating effect. The migrations of Wodaabe women, represent an extreme case in some respects, but are nonetheless highly suited to challenging the idea of female immobility. This chapter is based on fieldwork in various Nigerien Wodaabe groups or lineages. The object of the research was neither a village nor a region but an ethno-cultural group, the Wodaabe, who are genuinely mobile. Following a short description of Wodaabe women's seasonal migration, its historical context and socio-economic impact, the chapter treats the savoir circuler and the specific sociability of these women. While continuing to offer the classic services such as calabash repairs and hair-braiding, the Wodaabe are on the move today primarily as traders, concentrating on one particular commodity, namely traditional medicines and charms, which are designated by the Hausa term maagani.

Keywords: female migrant; maagani; Muslim Hausa; Nigerien Wodaabe women



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