Wyglądać na emigranta. Gra o nowoczesność i konstruowanie męskości w Gwinei Bissau

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Gwinea Bissau
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Brzezińska, M. (2021). Wyglądać na emigranta. Gra o nowoczesność i konstruowanie męskości w Gwinei Bissau. Etnografia Polska, 65(1-2). https://doi.org/10.23858/EP65.2021.2593


This article explores changeable strategies used by men in their struggle for modernity and masculinity in contemporary Guinea-Bissau, which include wearing European clothes and showing signs of education. I employ Sherry Ortner’s concept of “serious games” to demonstrate how wearing fashionable clothes becomes a strategy in a game of status and prestige which is framed by the categories of „village people”, „town people” and emigrants, reflecting how local modern identity is shaped by the ideas of modernity and development, and by dreams of migration to Europe. The other side of the game, however, is, for men, the need to negotiate their masculinity. In the context of scarce material resources, fulfilling both of these goals poses a challenge and a contradiction for most Guinean men. As a result, symbolical meanings related to European clothes are sometimes strategically changed by men in their relations with women: through mockery, caricature and hence devaluation of the (otherwise shared) aspirations to modernity. In other cases, non-material attributes, such as signs of education, are foregrounded and employed as alternative strategies. Men manoeuvre among these various strategies in the game of modernity and masculinity, depending on the social context, their material situation and cultural capital at their disposal.



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