Becoming Inheritance: The Politics of Widows losing Personhood

  • Mouna Sunkara
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  • Mouna Sunkara

    O.P. Jindal Global University, India

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A culture can be defined by its adherence to its customs. These customs are recognised and legitimised in the eyes of the law and given legal sanctity. Customs can also become an excuse to strengthen the foundations of patriarchy and usurp the rights of marginalised communities such as widows. This paper will analyse the custom of widow inheritance, which, unlike what the term suggests, is not about what widows inherit upon their husband's death but how widows themselves are inherited as property. They are subsumed into her husband’s family, generally, his brothers, to take control of the property left behind by her husband. Using the radical feminist lens of the theorist Katherine Mackinnon, this paper will use her book,” Toward a Feminist Theory of the State” to understand how the State is complicit with the structures that keep these customs in existence. The practise of widow inheritance is widely practised in sub-Saharan Africa. However, this paper will be focus specifically on Uganda and use its statistics and laws to examine the interdependence of customs and the State.




International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 2, Page 1353 - 1358


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