Changing masculinities among Congolese male refugees living in urban Uganda: a case of Nsambya, Kampala
MetadataShow full item record
This positionality of men and masculinities in conflict and displacement interventions praxis continues to emerge from assumptions that male refugees are seen as overly hegemonic masculine beings who must be enlisted into the good men factory in creating a better society. Emerging from that, this study sought to examine how Congolese refugees’ masculinities have been evolving in urban spaces of Nsambya, Kampala, Uganda. Through a qualitative case study design, the study conducted in-depth and group interviews with 28 participants (including Congolese refugee men, women, and experts) to explore how Congolese masculinities have changed in terms of male gender roles, constructs of manhood, type of jobs they pursue and how these impact on their masculine identities. Through the theoretical framework of hegemonic masculinity, the study findings highlight that not all Congolese men continue to embody ideals of dominance but rather are becoming negotiating partners to ensure the survival of their households. Economic pressures of urban Nsambya have left many men straddling between collapsing and failed masculinities, in a space where women are now household providers. The study also found that refugee social services engage in a practice of gender sorting, leaving out Congolese refugee men’s needs for neither being urgent nor critical as equally as those of refugee women. The author, therefore, argues that the practice of gender sorting needs to change if we are to improve gender relations within refugee communities worldwide.