A Discourse Analysis of Gender Representation in Oromo Cultural Marriage (Wedding) Practices: The Case of Sakala District, Horo Guduru Wolloga Zone

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Addis Ababa University


This study analyses how discourse is used to represent gender in cultural wedding practices among the Oromo of Sakala District, Horo Guduru Wollega Zone. To do this, it embarks on a detailed analysis of cultural wedding songs, proverbs, linguistic taboos and material symbols during the ceremony. The study is situated within the qualitative paradigm and uses qualitative methods of data collection; namely, observation, interviews and focus group discussions. Data were collected ji'om observation of betrothed young couple, the parents' of the marrying couple, the chorus ./i'om both sides, the young best men and the elderly people. The descriptions of cultural peljormances, events and activities were also blended with their analysis. The descriptions were accompanied by different photos and images of marriage ceremony participants, material things, and settings. It also made use of interviews with men and women, manying couple and their parents regarding gender representation practices in an arranged marriage through language for validation purposes. Moreover, focus group discussions with women and men were made to tap information about women '.I' and men '.I' perceptions of gender representation practices. Data collected through the above tools were analysed using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). Arguing from Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) theoretical position, this thesis seeks to analyse how marriage partner relationships of dominance, power and control are constitufed and expressed in the discourse practices of arranged marriage. The thesis also applied the tenets of Systemic Functional Linguistic (SFL) to analyse clauses and multimodal texts mainly./i'om the pOint of transitivity, modality and theme based on the objective and Research Questions. Thematic approach has been used in order to focus on the presentation and analysis of the data. The findings of the study indicated that the dominant representations noted for men through cultural wedding songs show their commanding nature and holders of dominant positions within marriage, negotiators of propositions, and orchestrators of actions who have the final say in making things done in marriage life. However, while both men and some women construct women within deficit discourses, wedding songs do not match with eilher women's enacted



The Case of Sakala District, Horo Guduru Wolloga Zone