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"Celebrating Human Life and Endeavour: Self, Gender and Community in Alexander McCall Smith's The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency"
Dalarna University, School of Languages and Media Studies, English.
2009 (English)In: Mapping Africa in the English Speaking World, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana, 2009Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper addresses the themes of self, gender and community in Alexander McCall Smith’s best-selling series, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, focusing on the character of Precious Ramotswe, that “very, very fine lady,” the central character of the series. Set in Gaborone, Botswana, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency describes the life of Mma Ramotswe, the first woman in Botswana to enter the profession of private detective, and who, by determination and intelligence, sets out to help those in need and to make Botswana a better place. In his portrayal of Mma Ramotswe, McCall Smith explores what he calls “all that is fine in the human condition.” Mma Ramotswe is a character who looks on life positively and, through her empathy and generosity, inspires people around her. She shows qualities such as integrity, compassion and forgiveness, and by her moral judgement and attention to interpersonal relationships, she highlights important dimensions of human experience. This paper explores the communicative ethical aspects of Mma Ramotswe’s actions, in light of what the philosopher Seyla Benhabib calls “situating the self.” Using her own resources to create her own identity, Mma Ramotswe, enters into the public sphere, and mediating between “public norms” and “private values,” she demonstrates agency, autonomy and selfhood. By displaying an embodied subjectivity grounded in everyday life, she re-negotiates women’s marginalised positionality and seeks out alternatives for action and empowerment.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana, 2009.
Keywords [en]
self, gender, community, human condition
Research subject
Kultur, identitet och gestaltning, Transcultural Identities: The Construction of Identity in Cultural Encounters
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-4017OAI: oai:dalea.du.se:4017DiVA, id: diva2:521971
Conference
Mapping Africa in the English Speaking World , University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana, 2-4 June, 2009
Available from: 2009-06-13 Created: 2009-06-13 Last updated: 2012-04-24Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf