Language, Globalization and the Making of a Tanzanian Beauty Queen

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-11-29
  • Publisher: Multilingual Matters
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Through micro-analysis of language use, this book chronicles young women's pathways to becoming a Tanzanian beauty queen, offering an original perspective on the intersection of language with globalization, nationalism, and inequality in urban East Africa. This compelling linguistic ethnography considers the real-life effects, both on- and off-stage, of language policy, education, and gender dynamics for the women competing in the pageants. While highlighting many contestants' struggles for escape from poverty and patriarchy, the book also emphasizes their creative strategies – linguistic and otherwise – for bettering their lives and shows how people living in a global economic periphery take part in, and sometimes feel left out of, the wider world.

Author Biography

Sabrina Billings is an Assistant Professor of World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Arkansas, USA. Her research explores the interconnections of language with gender, education, globalization, and opportunity, especially in urban East Africa.

Table of Contents


1. Language Ideologies, Linguistic Registers, and the Sociolinguistic Landscape of Swahili and English in Tanzania

2. ‘From the Geneva of Africa': Beauty Pageants, National Cultural and Tanzanian Femininity

3. ‘I am Very Good at Explaining Myself, Especially in English': The Packaging of Privilege in the Making of Tanzanian Beauty Queens

4. ‘Education is the Key of Life': Contestants as Schoolgirls in Pursuit of an Escape

5. ‘Which is your favorite colour?': Race and Ethnicity in a Color-Blind Tanzania

6. Kutafuta Maisha: ‘Looking for a Life' from the Edge of the Globe

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