Bringing inside out: humour, outreach, and sexual and gender-based violence in Sierra Leone = Faire ressortir l’intérieur: Humour, sensibilisation, et violence sexuelle et sexiste en Sierra Leone

Martin, L. S., Bradbury-Jones, C., Koroma, S. and Forcer, S. (2021) Bringing inside out: humour, outreach, and sexual and gender-based violence in Sierra Leone = Faire ressortir l’intérieur: Humour, sensibilisation, et violence sexuelle et sexiste en Sierra Leone. Critical African Studies, 13(3), pp. 356-373. (doi: 10.1080/21681392.2021.2005378)

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Abstract

This article explores the theoretical and practical role(s) of humour in facilitating outreach about sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Sierra Leone. While humour might be considered an insensitive way of approaching difficult issues, this project shows that incongruity can in fact be productive. Recognizing that humour itself can be a form of symbolic or physical violence in some contexts, we argue that humour is a means of opening up conversations about violence (in this case SGBV) in order to address the social and legal challenges associated with it. Our pilot project – devised by an interdisciplinary team and conducted in partnership with a Sierra Leonean access-to-justice NGO, Timap for Justice – used comedy and performance to meet two key challenges: to disseminate awareness about social and legal issues related to commonplace practices of SGBV, and to open up a broader discussion about experiences of SGBV. Using empirical evidence from focus groups and interviews, this article shows how a humorous approach proved to be a productive mode of engagement and examines key concepts including ‘the vicinity of laughter’ (involving the spatial and interpersonal aspects of humour), the connections between laughter and memory, and the paradoxical relationship between lived experience, humour and violence.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This project was funded by a Global Challenges Research Fund grant from the Institute of Global Innovation at the University of Birmingham.
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Forcer, Professor Stephen
Authors: Martin, L. S., Bradbury-Jones, C., Koroma, S., and Forcer, S.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Journal Name:Critical African Studies
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
ISSN:2168-1392
ISSN (Online):2040-7211
Published Online:08 December 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Critical African Studies 13(3): 356-373
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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