Gender and Nation : Nira Yuval-Davis :
In Gender and Nation Yuval-Davis argues that the construction of nationhood and wars, exploring the contesting relations between feminism and nationalism. Citizenship and nationalism are also linked to gender, as all three concepts play a with the notions of masculinity and femininity, feminist international relations ( IR) The pioneering work of feminist scholars Anthias and Yuval-Davis (). Keywords: theory of nationalism, feminist interpretation. There is an inherent paradox in the ways theories of nationalism have treated gender relations in.
In Gender and Nation Nira Yuval-Davis shows how women reproduce nations biologically, culturally and symbolically. An extraordinarily powerful and comprehensive feminist account of the nation-state, it presents a far-reaching critique of the gender-blindness of political theory.
Gender and Nation is a major contribution to the expanding field of citizenship studies. A significant intellectual achievement, it is not a text to be missed. Turner "Nira Yuval-Davis carries feminist strategy a bold step forward, avoiding essentialism, skirting relativism to develop a theory of 'transversal' alliances between women founded not on diverse identities but on shared values. In the process, she rewrites the theory of nationalism. The population policies of a nation have a direct bearing upon the reproductive health of the women, and are therefore highly gendered.
Systematic drives by a nation to control growth rate of population are often driven by Malthusian prophesy of scarcity of global food resources which are no match to the explosive rate of population growth.
On the other hand, an unregulated population growth poses a threat to stability of the economic system by an over-supply of labor power. The social context in which a woman is placed has a bearing upon her reproductive health and rights. In poorer nations, where more economic value is placed on the male child, female infanticide is a widely practiced. In the age of social and economic globalization, several of these processes have been accelerated.
Massive cut down in public welfare expenditure along with structural readjustment programs, especially in poorer nations, result in spiraling impacts. In the face of increasing levels of poverty and lack of regular, secure employment, women everywhere are forced into wage labor on precarious terms, which has a direct effect on their health and living. The phenomenon of women going out to work in order to make a living is seen as a threat in terms of a reversal that is affected in traditional roles of a man and a woman.
It is very often that a nation is projected to be constituted by a singular cultural essence. The claims of hegemonic powers within the nation are affirmed as well as contested by culture-based politics. Boundaries of a nation are made and unmade on the basis of a cultural identity.Theories of Gender: Crash Course Sociology #33
Categories of exclusion and inclusion within a nation are defined in cultural terms. Cultural reproduction of a national identity employs gender relations in varieties of contexts.
Woman as a repository of cultural values is exemplified by her assumed role as the carrier of such values as she gives birth to the next generation. Religious customs, traditions, familial values, particular ways of living and similar cultural values are passed on to the future generations and thus preserved.
Yuval Davis on gender and citizenship – Political Sociology
In a sense, women as the assumed representatives of culture are accorded the burden of its preservation as well as continuation. Preserving honor of women of a nation is akin to preserving honor of the nation. This also implies that the honor of a rival national collective, or any other community for that matter, can be destroyed or defiled by attacking their women.
Women are tortured and killed when they transgress this set moral code because it brings shame and dishonor to the community. Therefore, in a number of ways, control and exploitation of women are accorded moral justification on the pretext of preserving honor of the nation or community.
The violent history of partition of Indian subcontinent is full of stories of women who were encouraged to kill themselves or were murdered by their own kin, rather than lose their honor by falling into the hands of the rival community.
Political use of rape and sexual violence against women in cases of caste-based conflicts or violent pogrom against religious minorities is everyday news. Such objectification of woman effectively means that her body and life are subjected to constant surveillance and scrutiny. This also implies that the right of a woman to participate in the national life with a voice of her own is effectively curtailed. Politics of suppression and silencing all opposition is accorded moral legitimacy on the pretext of saving integrity of the nation.
The social reformers in colonial India struggled to reform Indian society from within to escape emasculinization at the hands of the colonial rulers. The manner in which Indians treated their own women; and were chained by their own regressive social customs and traditions, was indicative of only one thing: However each of these images is essential to reinforce the other, and together they feed into a discourse of nationalism at any given historical time.
Besides being abused at the time of the conflicts, these women are continuing to be abused post-conflict, due to the lack of state support and recognition.
Gender and Nation
After the nationalist struggle, women survivors of sexual violence are still not treated as a referent object of security of the same value as men, combatants, and war veterans. Often, as in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, victimization of women becomes the main argument for the continuance of nationalism post-conflict Helms, Cynthia Enloep. On the contrary, Loise Westp. One effect of these efforts is to reconstruct old words, feminism, and nationalism - in new contexts.
West claims that women reconstruct both feminism and nationalism by using a standpoint feminist theory. What is central in this theory is viewing the world from the stand point of a woman, as the basis for an understanding of how the world functions. The central argument that West is proposing is that both nationalism and feminism are not fixed and binary, and women work on defining victimization but also against it.
In terms of feminism and nationalism, they are created and re- created in daily interactions between genders. For her, feminist nationalism is not bad per se, but, as with Jayawardena, West is recognizing that women are undeniably still being victimized by individual men, states, nationalist conflicts, and wars and that women's interests continue to be actively marginalized in the development of political economies and states.
Similarly, Lina Sunserip. She finds that there have been limitations to the liberatory aspects of nationalist movements. In most cases, once the post-colonial nation is formed, the position of women has not improved much and, in some cases, it has even regressed. For Hee-Kang nationalism provides a means by which society can improve women's rights and promote gender equality.
What happens when women step out of the roles that were awarded to them by traditional male power holders and national and religious leaders? There are many examples of the political treatment of women who advocated against nationalist policies and refused to comply or operate 6 Gordana Subotic The University of Melbourne Ph. Candidate within predefined political and geographical boundaries. Very often, in nationalistic environments feminist political agendas that are not in accordance with pre-defined roles and narratives are targeted and labeled as unpatriotic.
According to Tickner, those women in peace movements, whom feminist critics of Donald Regan cited as evidence for women's involvement in international affairs, are frequently branded as naive, weak, and even unpatriotic Tickner, In the attacks, everything about these women was in play, from their physical appearance, ethnonational belonging of their marriage partners which are non-Croatians, even Serband ties to the West, thus challenging their Croatian-ness Kesic,KoracMostovtaxin Helmsp.
This essay contains several examples of feminist limitations in the nationalist agenda and in various countries around the world.
- Nationalism, Citizenship, and Gender
This analysis is drawn from my own thesis to explain constraints and boundaries of women in decision making in post-conflict non-consolidated democracies i. Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Signs, 28 4— The Evolution of International Security Studies. Bananas, Beaches, and Bases: