George Paul Meiu

Ethno-erotic Economies

Sexuality, Money and Belonging in Kenya

University of Chicago Press 2017

New Books in African StudiesNew Books in AnthropologyNew Books in EconomicsNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network March 26, 2018 Erin Freas-Smith

Professor George Paul Meiu‘s debut anthropological book, Ethno-erotic Economies: Sexuality, Money, and Belonging in Kenya (University of Chicago Press, 2017), dives into the commodification...

Professor George Paul Meiu‘s debut anthropological book, Ethno-erotic Economies: Sexuality, Money, and Belonging in Kenya (University of Chicago Press, 2017), dives into the commodification of culture and sex on the beachfronts of coastal Kenya, as well as the ramifications and shifting economic power dynamics in rural Samburu villages that result from this new economy. Utilizing over a decade of community engagement and research, Meiu expertly engages in intense anthropological study without exploitation and judgment. Rather he succeeds in humanizing his subjects as he explores the creation and development of a new economy, that of engaging with white, largely Western European women, in romantic relationships in exchange for money, goods and, eventually, higher economic and social status in their home rural communities. But with this new economy comes challenges to traditional social structures, as sexuality and wealth intersect with traditional land tenure and power. Meiu, with his deep understanding of the Samburu people, rituals and culture, explores how power dynamics change, and how new money is challenged and reconciled. This book is highly readable, without skimping on academic literature and theoretical context, resulting in a book that will engage everyone from first year anthropology students through seasoned academics.


Erin Freas-Smith, Ph.D can be reached at [email protected].

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