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Nationalism and Feminism

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Gökçen Bulut

on 4 January 2013

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Transcript of Nationalism and Feminism

Nationalism and Feminism By Gökçen Bulut
Feminists in different parts of the world are communicating to transform gender relations in the societies they live Conclusion However;
The entry of women into the military labour market did not abolish but changed the sexual divisions of labour
Entrance of women into Western militaries has taken place when military service no longer a national duty but rather a professional career Women and Citizenship Duties Citizenship- two way process;
obligations and rights
Particular feminist debate on service of women in the military
Defending own community and country seen as ultimate citizen’s duty
Traditionally citizenship is linked with the ability to take part in armed struggle for national defense which is equated with maleness
While femaleness equated with weakness and need for male protection Women and Citizenship Duties
Women and men be treated quite differently in relation to rights but there has been some progress in sexual equity legislation over the years Gender Relations and Citizenship Figure of women often a mother
Symbol of French Revolution was a figure of woman giving birth
Women or rather ‘womenandchildren’ are constructed as attached to the homeland Gender Relations and Homeland Object-like characteristic of the women finds its strongest expression in the construction of women/mothers as the embodiments of the homeland
In peasent societies dependence on the fertility of Mother Earth contributed to close association between collective territory and womanhood Gender Relations and Homeland Gender has crucial role in culturalization discourse
Gender relations are at the heart of cultural constructions of social identities passed from generation to generation
The “home” has particular importance which includes within family relations, ways of cooking and eating, domestic labor, world view etc Cultural Reproduction and Gender Relations 3. Malthusian Discourse
Thomas Malthus in 1800s predicted that the planet not for long be able to support the growing population
Which grows faster than global food resources
Although Malthus was proved wrong, such prophecies continued and increasingly more focused on Third World countries Reproduction of the 'biological stock' of the nation 3 major discourses tend to dominate nationalist policies of population control
the Discourse of People as Power
future of the nation is seen to depend on its continuous growth, sometimes on immigration
almost exclusively depends on reproductive power of women Reproduction of the 'biological stock' of the nation Central importance of women's reproductive roles in ethnic and national discourses becomes apparent when one considers that one joins the collectivity by being born into it

Especially when nationalism combined with racism Reproduction of the 'biological stock' of the nation Once the essential femininity of women was fixed, they could go to schools, public entertainment programs and in time even take up employment outside the home
This capitulations requires compensation Partha Chatterjee Achievement marked by superiority in several aspects;
Superiority over western
Superiority over preceding generation of women
Superiority over women of lower classes Partha Chatterjee Threat was removed with Indian schools for girls in 1850s
Formal education not only acceptable but a requirement for new respectable woman when it is ensured that woman can acquire cultural refinements afforded by modern education WITHOUT jeopardizing her place at home Partha Chatterjee Attainment by her own efforts of a superior national culture was woman’s newly acquired freedom in various aspects of life
E.g.- Education
Real threat perceived in early schools by Christian missionaries teaching women at home Partha Chatterjee There would have to be difference in the degree and manner of Westernization of women, as distinct from men, in the modern world of the nation
New woman was subjected to new patriarchy; contrasted not only with modern Western society but also patriarchy of indigenous tradition-superior than both Partha Chatterjee E.g.- Modesty-not exists in animal nature
As god-like qualities
Women cultivate these god-like qualities far more than men
Women express in their appearance and behavior this spiritual qualities that are characteristics of civilized and refined human society Partha Chatterjee World- where the European power had challenged the non-European peoples, and by virtue of superior material culture, had conquered them, BUT;
Nationalists assert that it had failed to colonize the inner, essential identity of the East which lay in its distinctive, and superior spiritual culture Partha Chatterjee Westernization- aim of the colonialists that in the end Indians themselves come to believe in the unworthiness of their traditional customs and embrace new forms of civilized and rational social order Partha Chatterjee By assuming a position of sympathy with the unfree and oppressed womanhood in India, the colonial mind was able to transform figure of Indian woman into a sign of inherently oppressive and unfree nature of the entire cultural tradition of the country Partha Chatterjee Nationalism as Gendered Phenomena Literature on nationalism not usually relates women as the nation's biological and cultural reproducers

"The entry of women into the national arena, as cultural and biological reproducers of the nation and as transmitters of its values, has also redefined the content and the boundaries of ethnicity and the nation“-(Yuval-Davis and Anthias, 1989) Nationalism as Gendered Phenomena Nationalism as Gendered Phenomena
Partha Chatterjee
Reproduction of the 'biological stock' of the nation
Cultural Reproduction and Gender Relations
Gender Relations and the Homeland
Gender Relations and Citizenship
Women and Citizenship Duties
Conclusion Outline  
Chatterjee, P. (1989) Colonialism, nationalism and colonialized women: the contest in India, American Ethnologist, 16:4, 622-633
Guibernau, M., & Hutchinson, J. (2001) understanding nationalism, Blackwell Publishers. Boston New York References On one hand women been commonly excluded from power positions in nationalist movements,
On the other hand, their position and behaviors are constructed as symbols of the national culture and tradition Conclusion Feminist scholarship has challenged the masculinist construction of nations and nationalisms which highlighted the sexual division of labor on nationalist projects;
National reproduction, national culture, citizenship and war, and dual positionings of women as objects and as subjects Conclusion Some feminist organizations fought for the inclusion of women in the military
Arguing that once women share ultimate citizenship duty with men, they would also be able to gain equal citizenhip rights with men Women and Citizenship Duties Women either;
Do not have any formal citizenship rights at all
Women who are widows or daughters of political leaders have the highest chance of becoming political leaders Gender Relations and Citizenship As with earlier forms of citizenship, the modern French Revolutionary one also constructed in a gendered way excluding women
Giving men the right to rule and represent women and children in the public domain Gender Relations and Citizenship Militarized images of femininity at war
-Wars seen to be for the sake of the ‘womenandchildren’
-Fighting men are comforted by the knowledge of ‘their woman’ waiting for them to come home
-Systematic rape of women as a tool for humiliating the enemy community rather than a torture for that specific women being raped
-Women embody the family, community and homeland honour Gender Relations and Homeland Ambivalent position of woman within the collectivity
Symbolize the collective unity and honour
Excluded from collective ‘we’ of the politics
Retain an object rather than subject position
Proper woman cultural codes to keep them inferior power position Cultural Reproduction and Gender Relations Burden of representation on women brings the requirement of ‘proper’ behavior, ‘proper’ clothing and embodiment of collectivity’s boundaries
Women being tortured or murdered due to bringing dishonour and shame on their male relatives
Women being raped in war as way of shaming and dishonouring the enemy community as a whole Cultural Reproduction and Gender Relations Mottos for boys;
Live faithfully, fight bravely, die laughing
Live and die for the nation

Mottos for girls;
Be faithful, be pure, be German
Not need to act, just become the national embodiment Cultural Reproduction and Gender Relations Defining culture on the notion of authenticity which assumes fixed, essential constructs of culture
Give rise to ‘the burden of representation’ or ‘forced identities’
Women are especially required to carry this burden as they are symbolic bearers of collectivity’s identity and honour
E.g.- different mottos in the Hitler’s Youth movement Cultural Reproduction and Gender Relations Pressure is almost exclusively on women since often conflict between collective national and individual interest in terms of the number of children one has
When no welfare structure to look after ill or elder, crucial to have enough children to support them Reproduction of the 'biological stock' of the nation involuntary sterilization laws were practiced in some of the southern states in the USA from 1920-1970 and disability activists claim such laws continue to operate on disabled people in many countries of the world today Reproduction of the 'biological stock' of the nation 2. The Eugenicist discourse
concerned not the size but the quality of the nation
equated with selective breeding- rather than better health, education or housing for the poor Reproduction of the 'biological stock' of the nation Need for people- often primarily men for civil and military purposes
Women are also forced to have more children aftermath of national disasters Reproduction of the 'biological stock' of the nation New patriarchy combined coercive authority with subtle force of persuasion; women as mothers and as goddess
Woman standing sign for nation- spiritual qualities of self-sacrifice, benevolence, devotion, religiosty etc Partha Chatterjee Early generation of educated women propagating the idea of “new woman”
Recent historians sometimes been embarrassed of women writers of 19th century
E.g.- Radharani in 1875 and Kundamala Debi in 1870 Partha Chatterjee Education opened up a domain where woman was autonomous subject
New goal women set for themselves- achieving freedom Partha Chatterjee Material/spiritual dichotomy corresponds to that between animal/god-like qualities, which in turn corresponds to masculine/feminine virtues
Consequently, the organization and ways of life at home also have to be changed as long as retain the inner spirituality of indigenous social life Partha Chatterjee Strikingly much literature on threatened Westernization of Bangali women
Imitation of Western women; clothing, cosmetics, jewelry, useless luxury and little care for home
19th century- total rejection of the new
New discourse of nationalism- women in the “modern” world of the nation
VİDEO Partha Chatterjee The entire phase of the national struggle , the crucial need was to protect the spiritual essence- the home- women

Principle of selection- attempt to make modernity consistent with the nationalist project Partha Chatterjee Applying the inner/outer distinction to the matter of concrete day to day living separates the social space into the home and the world
World- external, domain of the material-men
Home- inner spiritual self, true identity-women Partha Chatterjee Nationalist discourse of material/spiritual distinction lead to more powerful dichotomy; the outer and the inner
Material domain- outer
Spiritual domain- inner Partha Chatterjee Cultivating the material techniques of modern Western civilization while retaining and strengthening the distinctive spiritual essence of the national culture was necessary
In every case- problem of selecting what to take from the West and what to reject Partha Chatterjee Material sphere- most powerful Western civilization claims
Science, technology, rational economic organization forms etc given European countries the strength to conquer non-European people and impose their dominance over the whole world
To overcome this domination, colonialized people had to learn superior techniques of organizing material life and incorporate them within their own culture Partha Chatterjee The women’s question in nationalism
Separation of culture domain into two spheres; the material and the spiritual Partha Chatterjee Colonialism, nationalism, and colonialized women: the contest in India
Colonialism-civilizing mission
Degenerate and barbaric
Atrocities perpetrated on Indian women
Not so much by men but ritual practices rationalizing within a complete religious doctrine
Made them appear to perpetrators and sufferers as the necessary marks of right conduct Partha Chatterjee
Partha Chatterjee-on colonial nationalism
pointed out that as the position of women has been so central to the colonial gaze in defining indigenous cultures Nationalism as Gendered Phenomena Women did not enter national arena
Including women explicitly in the analytical discourse around nations and nationalism is only a very recent and partial effortful due to traditional exclusion of women from public sphere Nationalism as Gendered Phenomena
Ignorance of gender relations until recent times
Primordialists– seen nations as extensions of kinship relationships Nationalism as Gendered Phenomena Therefore, pointing out the hegemonic male gaze of these theorizations and their deficiencies has been the task of the feminist scholarship
"as a woman I have no country“
Virgina Woolf
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