Moral Creativity and Self-Narration:
A Study of Older Female Street Vendors in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea
My project explores vulnerability at the intersection of old age, gender, and the postcolony through the study of older female street vendors in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea. It aims at documenting the women’s practices of narrative self-formation in order to understand how they transform, through the prisma of moral creativity, bodily and economic hindrance into moral strength and social resource. Personal experience drawn from previous visits to the field (2014) suggests that the women’s group identity has been constructed by others through two opposite narratives; one of which portrays them as inherently weak, and another that romanticizes them as one of the most empowered groups in contemporary Malabeño society. How do these two narratives condition the way in which older female street vendors perceive themselves, their relationships with others, and their possibilities for fulfillment in late life? How is the tension between the women’s wishes/hopes and their socioeconomic/biopolitical situation negotiated? While addressing these questions I’ll draw theoretical inspiration from John Wall’s (2005) concept of ‘moral creativity’, which builds on Ricoeur’s largely unexplored notions of moral capability, selfhood, and poetics.
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