Dictionaries and Discourses of Deviance: Changing Lexical Representations of ‘Moffie’ and the Reorganisation of Sexual Categories among Afrikaans Speakers during the Second Half of the Twentieth Century

Dictionaries and Discourses of Deviance: Changing Lexical Representations of ‘Moffie’ and the Reorganisation of Sexual Categories among Afrikaans Speakers during the Second Half of the Twentieth Century

Author: 
Pieterse, Jimmy
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis
Date published: 
2013
Record type: 
Region: 
Journal Title: 
South African Historical Journal
Source: 
South African Historical Journal, Vol. 65, Issue 4, December 2013, pp. 618-637
Abstract: 

This article has as its aim to demonstrate that successive editors of descriptive dictionaries such as the Handwoordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (HAT) were instrumental in the shaping and reshaping of idealised Afrikaner masculinity during much of the second half of the twentieth century. Moreover, it seeks to show how the term ‘moffie’, through processes of definition and redefinition, came to form part of a discourse of power, dominance and control that reinforced the ideals of a patriarchal state, and ultimately how its meaning came to be renegotiated as ideals of masculinity changed along with the shifting sands of state (re)formation. Additionally, it seeks to demonstrate how idealised masculinity was conceptualised and reconceptualised by means of the definition and redefinition of its deviant opposite/s. Methodologically, this is achieved by triangulating three sets of data: (1) unpacking changing lexical representations of the word ‘moffie’ and comparing these to (2) contemporary narratives sourced from the popular print media and (3) ethnography. I argue that this allows us to better understand the reorganisation of sexual categories among Afrikaans-speakers, as well as changes in the gendered ordering of Afrikaner society during the second half of the twentieth century.

Language: 

CITATION: Pieterse, Jimmy. Dictionaries and Discourses of Deviance: Changing Lexical Representations of ‘Moffie’ and the Reorganisation of Sexual Categories among Afrikaans Speakers during the Second Half of the Twentieth Century . : Taylor & Francis , 2013. South African Historical Journal, Vol. 65, Issue 4, December 2013, pp. 618-637 - Available at: http://library.au.int/dictionaries-and-discourses-deviance-changing-lexical-representations-‘moffie’-and-reorganisation-3