The everyday life of sexual politics: A feminist critical discourse analysis of herbalist pamphlets in Johannesburg

  • Megan Edwards
  • Tommaso M Milani


This article investigates a corpus of herbalist pamphlets – fairly common, everyday texts found in (South) African cities – which promote the services of traditional healers and promise solutions to a plethora of ailments and life problems. The article’s multi-pronged approach brings feminist critical discourse analysis (FCDA), corpus linguistics (CS) and multimodal critical discourse studies (MCDS) into dialogue with each other. Encompassing both quantitative and qualitative components, this eclectic framework illustrates the ways in which dominant gendered discourses reproduce a patriarchal and heteronormative order by positioning men and women differently. This dominant form of gendered representation, however, co-exists with more resistant discourses which positively thematise same-sex desire. Essentially, the article demonstrates that herbalist pamphlets are key sites of ‘entanglement’ (Nuttall 2009) where complex identity nexuses of gender, sexuality, race, age and culture intersect and compete with each other within the larger regime of representation in South Africa.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614