This study looks at how poverty and gender roles form structural constraints that dictate the daily lives of those living in Kibera and how these individuals are able to exhibit agency in spite of the inequalities they face. While staying with a host family in Kibera, I collected data for this study through formal interviews, informal interviews, and a questionnaire. Drawing on Paul Farmer's concept of structural violence, I show how girls and boys in Kibera must deal with lack of educational opportunities, lack of sanitation and health care, unemployment, and gendered marriage practices. At the same time, I use Pierre Bourdieu's concept of cultural capital and the work of Philippe Bourgois and Donna Goldstein on "agency" and urban poverty to illustrate how individuals find their own means of survival and try to take control of their lives through membership in churches, support groups, and gangs, as well as substance abuse and sex work. Sometimes these expressions of agency have positive outcomes, but more often than not they are self-inflicting and only further the marginalization of the individuals. In spite of the many obstacles and hardships they face, the individuals I interviewed still call Kibera their home.
Sociology and Anthropology
Harmony, Alexandra, "Seeking Respect in the Face of Poverty and Gendered Inequality: A Case Study of Structural Violence in the Kibera Slum, Kenya" (2013). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 1146.
Gender and Sexuality | Social and Cultural Anthropology
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
© Copyright 2013 Alexandra Harmony