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The efficacy of the gender ‘tok’ and the Anglican sisters’ house-based response to gender violence in post-conflict Solomon Islands

Miguel-Lorenzo, Laura Alexandra (2018) The efficacy of the gender ‘tok’ and the Anglican sisters’ house-based response to gender violence in post-conflict Solomon Islands. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Drawing on thirteen month ethnographic research in Honiara and its peri-urban areas, in Guadalcanal Island, in the Solomon Islands, the South Pacific, this thesis examines ‘gender efficacy’ and the efficacy of the ‘gender talk’ (SIP tok)- this refers to social discourses about gender and gender violence deployed in the contemporary Solomon Islands to produce effects in other realms of action beyond gender roles and relations per se. I examine ‘gender efficacy’ focusing on the work of Anglican indigenous religious Sisters (of the Anglican Church of Melanesia) in the shelter they run for abused women and children, called the Christian Care Centre, through six chapters. In chapter one I examine urban discourses on gender violence as the environment which enables the Sisters’ repertoire of actions and women become visible. In chapter two I analyse Nester Atkin Tiboe’s vision which seeks to ‘break’ kastom to increase women’s participation in the Church and it serves to found an indigenous sisterhood (the Sisters of Melanesia), which forms a pair with the Sisters of the Church, comprising the two sisterhoods I study. In chapter three I argue that whilst the idea of working at a women’s shelter might attract women to join the sisterhoods, joining a sisterhood entails the transformation of women into ‘Others’. In chapter four I examine how the engendering of Sisters as adult autonomous women entails a danger of death as the Sisters can potentially be emplaced in the landscape connected to the houses they build. In chapter five I show the negative consequences of ‘working together’ for the shelter for a group of strangerseven if of the same Christian denomination. Finally, in chapter six I analyse the Christian Care Centre’s counselling method to help abused women and children. I argue that the efficacy of the method relies on the Sisters being ‘neutral’ God’s agents. The efficacy of the ‘gender tok’ rest in its capacity to promote sociality, wellbeing and social reproduction, as shown at different levels of analysis. The main research methods are participant observation, observations, in-depth and life-story interviews, group discussions in Solomon Islands Pijin, and archival material analysis.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2018 Laura Alexandra Miguel-Lorenzo
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Departments > Anthropology
Supervisor: Scott, Michael W. and Moore, Henrietta

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