Socio-cultural constructions of gender roles and psychological wellbeing in farm-families of Ogun-state, Nigeria : exploring the complexities.
The study set out to explore the complexities of the socio-cultural constructions of gender roles and psychological wellbeing in farm-families of Ogun state Nigeria. The intention of the study was to gain insight and understanding of the farmers' life experiences since farm-families are gendered institutions with peculiar needs, problems and aspirations. The study was motivated by a dearth of research on the constructions and determinants of psychological wellbeing and gender roles in farm-families. This thesis is therefore an attempt to fill the identified gap in knowledge, by generating empirical data on the socio-cultural constructions of psychological wellbeing and gender roles in farm-families. The thesis is essentially interdisciplinary in nature, drawing from and contributing to the bodies of knowledge in gender-based research, social psychology, family studies, developmental research, and agricultural extension. The inclusion of men's and women's views and perceptions, as opposed to a polarized view of men exclusively as the oppressors and perpetrators of female subordination is a poststructural feminist approach toward de-emphasizing gender dichotomies. In addition, the incorporation of children's perspectivesis due to recognition of family factors as determinants of children's gender identity construction, life outcomes, and the psychological wellbeing of the entire family. Research participants included forty adults (17 men and 23 women) and thirty-one children (17 boys and 14 girls), drawn from five farming communities in Ogun state Nigeria. These include: Kango, Ogijan, Boodo-Sanyaolu, Obafemi, and Ilewo-Orile. Adopting a qualitative research methodology, multiple methods of data collection were employed. These include life history methodology, in-depth interviews, focus group interviews, and interactive observation techniques. Although 'psychological wellbeing' is a difficult construct to define because of its complexity and high subjectivity, adopting the social representations' framework, the constructions,· meanings and determinants of psychological wellbeing and gender roles were allowed to emerge from the participants, within their peculiar socio-historical and cultural contexts. Findings reveal that the constructions of gender identity and gender roles in farm-families are the foundations of the internalization of gender ideals, socio-cultural constructions, psychological wellbeing and coping strategies. Children then grow up to become part of the society and continue the trans-generational perpetuation of gender ideals and reinforcement of gender stereotypes, and these have several implications for the psychological wellbeing of entire farm-family members. The problems of women-subordination vis-a-vis male-domination, therefore, have their roots in the socio-cultural constructions of gender, gender roles, and their ideological representations. Research outcomes thus provide basis for the development of sustainable culture-specific feminist strategies, which address the origins and foundations of gender stereotypes, as well as gender-sensitive and gender-specific interventions for the enhancement of farm-families' psychological wellbeing. The adoption of Yoruba terminology in the constructions of psychological wellbeing and related concepts in the thesis is the beginning of an innovative research process for inventing contextually meaningful and relevant Yoruba terminology for previously Western-based concepts. In this thesis for example, psychological wellbeing is construed as - ilera-okan, alafiaokan, ibale-okan, ilera pipe t 'okan-t 'ara; while stress and emotional disturbance are construed as - aibale-okan, iporuuru ati pakaleke okan. This is a unique contribution to knowledge.
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