Mbaraan and the Shifting Political Economy of Sex in Urban Senegal
This paper examines transactional sex in Dakar as a window into broader processes of social and economic change in urban Senegal. Patterns of heterosexual behaviour in Senegal's capital (late and increasing age at first marriage for women, a relatively high divorce rate and a rise in transactional sex) reflect a confluence of socioeconomic forces that curtail some forms of heterosexual union and facilitate others. Our analysis focuses on the rise of mbaraan, a practice in which single, married and divorced women have multiple male partners. We argue that while mbaraan is in part an expression of women's agency and a transgression of dominant gender norms, it also reflects women's social and economic subordination and their inability to achieve self-sufficiency independent of men's financial support. We suggest that this urban phenomenon is the outcome of contradictory opportunities and constraints that women face as they grapple with material insecurity and marital disappointments. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Culture, Health and Sexuality
divorce, marriage, mbaraan, Senegal, transactional sex
Foley, Ellen and Drame, Fatou Maria, "Mbaraan and the Shifting Political Economy of Sex in Urban Senegal" (2013). International Development, Community, and Environment. 268.