structures among Creole women of African descent in Suriname, where such relationships are called mati. In Suriname, ‘mati-work’ is part of working-class culture, as opposed to the middle-class, where according to dominant values women must be ‘feminine’ and dependent on men; as seen from middle-class positions ‘mati-work’ is perceived as ‘rowdy, unseemly behaviour’ (Wekker 1997:338). According to Wekker, categories of ‘identity’ in this context are misplaced and misleading: ’’Conceiving of same-gender sexual behaviour embodied in the mati – work in terms of ’identity’ inscribes and reproduces Western thought categories with their legacy of dichotomy, hierarchy and permanency, thus distorting a phenomenon that is emically experienced in quite different terms” (Wekker 1999:133).
Wekker talks about multiplicitous sexualities (cf. Machera’s chapter), and basing her arguments on Afro-Surinamese working class language and patterns of behaviour, she insists on the futility of thinking about these matters in terms of ‘sexual identity’, following a Western line of thinking, seeing ‘the subject’ as ‘unitary, authentic, bounded, static and trans-situational’ (1999:125). According to her, it is much more to the point to acknowledge the co-existence of a variety of different aspects within the same individual, conceptualizing self and sexuality as mul – tiplicitous, dynamic and malleable (Wekker 1997:335).