Heidi Tyedmers is a PhD Scholar at the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University. This seminar is Heidi’s final presentation of her doctoral candidature.
In Vanuatu, efforts to expand the role of kastom and the ‘power of chiefs’ in key justice and governance spaces in the state are increasingly evident. This presentation will argue that this embrace of kastom has enabled a clear assertion of hegemonic masculinity, with direct and negative impacts on the lives of women and girls.
Specifically, these articulations of kastom and the ‘power of chiefs’, as they are hidden under the cloak of ‘culture’ and ‘tradition’, elide the deeply gendered and unequal relationships upon which they are based. Kastom in these articulations institutionalises the power of particular men in a way that allows and enables violence against women and girls – both symbolic and lived – and is increasingly doing so with the complicity of the state.
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