Becoming a Man: Construction of the Somali Raganimo in Maps

Author: Sehnaz Rofique Saikia, Gauhati University, Assam, India
Published: July 29, 2022

Citation: Saikia, S. R. (2022). Becoming a Man: Construction of the Somali Raganimo in Maps. IAFOR Journal of Arts & Humanities, 9(1).


In gender studies, the distinction between biological sex and the social aspect of gender is of pivotal concern, and it needs to be examined not only from a feminist perspective but from masculinity studies as well. Undoubtedly, men have fared better within the patriarchal structure “in terms of the access to and the wielding of power, than have women” (Buchbinder, p. 68), but it is crucial to understand the implications of gender-based expectations on men to possess those privileges. The invisibility concerning masculinity as a gendered category has made it appear natural and coherent. In the context of masculinity as a gendered category, this paper will analyze the configuration of hegemonic masculinity or a raganimo in Nuruddin Farah’s (b. 1945) Maps. The study will reveal how the dominant masculinity insinuated by culture as natural is, in reality, a make-believe formulated by various discourses. The paper foregrounds that the shaping of masculinity in socially prescribed norms in Maps is a discursive practice instrumentalized by patriarchal Somali society to generate, circulate and exert power. The aim of this paper is not to promote the positioning of men as agents of power, but to understand the working of gender and the underpinning of power in masculinity.


Nuruddin Farah, gender, Maps, masculinity, patriarchy, power, Somalia