It's just this animal called culture : regulatory codes and resistant action among Dagara female musicians
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This dissertation is an exploration of the African female body as a site of regulation and resistance. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among the Dagara of northwestern Ghana, I illustrate how Dagara women are regulated through narratives of exclusion, through the mobilization of the rhetoric of tradition and cultural authenticity, and the racialization of gender ideologies. I then illustrate how Dagara women carve resistant spaces through song writing, dance, and instrumental performance, pointing to how female bodies in performance essay critiques of existent power structures. I argue that Dagara women redefine the terms of their sexed bodies through performance, as they open up new cultural possibilities. By mediating multiple categories of belonging, Dagara women expand the narrow demarcations that are mapped onto their bodies. Such divisive categories of African/Western, black/white, and traditional/modern are challenged through musical performance. Dagara women subvert regulation in ways that are instructive in re-theorizing the possibilities of resistant and transgressive action.