Women’s Knowledge Systems

Toward Ambivalence and Silences
  • Elinami Veraeli Swai


This chapter focuses on the study of narratives of publicly silenced, “othered,” overlooked, disregarded, marginalized, and dislocated women in rural Tanzania. In particular, it examines stories of rural women in Tanzania who have undergone both local (district), societal (ethnic), and national (Tanzania) marginalization. The stories told by these women might appear simple, but they are quite knowledgeable, intelligent, and complicated. Their stories are also exciting because they provide their own flavor, backgrounds, frameworks, and more. They do not have to cite anybody in order to be understood. The only sources they cite are their mothers, aunts, and neighbors. As they do this, they are not only artistic, philosophical, and complex but also more nuanced than many might imagine, for there are many subtle meanings and codes in their conversations, which only an insider can decode and understand. The aim of this chapter is to bring to view the development of women’s knowledge systems with a goal to inform curriculum designers, teachers and development planners the impoertance of everyday life as a source of knowledge in order to resist dominant discourses of education, development and empowerment. The chapter examines defiance and resistance through storytelling by women in rural Tanzania in ways that are different from conventional ways of conducting research.


Knowledge System Cultural Capital Rural Woman African Woman Rural Family 
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© Elinami Veraeli Swai 2010

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  • Elinami Veraeli Swai

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