Nira Yuval-Davis Theorising Gender and Nation

Main Ideas
Gender relations:
 Impact on national creatons (projects)  Positions and positioning of women in national projects  How national projects are gendered both by the notions of man and womanhood

Epistemological framework:
 Knowledge drawn from one standpoint cannot be ‘finished’ i.e. finally defined  Though it does not mean invalidity or irrelevance to any particular context

Theorizations - nation and nationalism
Dissmissed the importance of gender relations (even women) Primordialists – a school of nationalists
 Nations – natural, universal extention of kinship relations

 Stress state bureaucracy, institutional apparatuses and the maintenance of national-ethnic ideologies and boundraries

Others claim
 Intellectuals are important in creating nationalist ideologies
• esp. in opressed nations, e.g. bards, philosophers –either allowed or banned show golden age of anation from the mythical perspective.

Women usually excluded from these neatly constructed theories !!!!!!!!!!!

Why theories exclude women?
Patterman’s (1988) and Grant’s (1991) explanations (social contract)
 Public and private spheres family and politics women within the family domain, separated from politics as irrelevant.  Exclusion from public discourse was a consequence  Imagined state of nature vs civilised society women on the sideof nature, as those incapable of agression and reason (male features in Rosseau and Hobbes) Women were always in the national arena regardless of discourse – their inclusion – recent amd partial.

Nationalist Projects
Deconstructivist approach is taken.
 Nation-states can be:
• Sub• Super• Cross-states – physical boundraries rarely seem convergent here.

 Pre-modern perspective is not dismissed altogether:
• Growing fundamentalist movements esp. religious – produce new forms of nationalist hegemony.

 Nation has its context:
• • • • History National discourses of different groupings Fight or competition for hegemony Gendered character is contextualized

Women and Gender Relations
3 main questions for inquiry:
 How women are opressed – gendered relations of power, patriarchy  Sex and gender debate – biologically and culturally defined differences  Generalized notions of gender relations - how men and women see themselves within those relations

Nature and culture in gender relations:
 Culture aimed at controlling women’s positioning  Nature inferior to culture – western thread of thought  In some cultures NATURE is not taimed – women in tribal hierachy

Patriarchy and Fraternity
 Typical of pre-modern historical period – king as father figure  Can be located in the specific geographical area – Africa and Middle East – family in the centre, woman’s ‘virtue’ important.

 Typical of modern, liberal period  Agree ment on social contract – both equal in private and political spheres  Woman is not a passive non-participant – has a say in determining gender relations

Sex and Gender Debate
Sex (biological), gender (culturally constructed) Enabled feminists of various schools to show the neccessity to strive for social and sexual equality Constructing discourses around those notions led to deculturization of both notions The meaningfulness of both is blurred – they intertwine nowadays

Theorising Nations and States
The concept of nation-state:
 Nation boundrary ≠ state boundrary  Not considered a members of a hegemonic nation
• Immigrants • Refugees • Without a state – diasporas e.g. Palestinians

National hegemony is an artifitial construct:
 Creates minorities  Can lead to eventual ethnic cleansing

State and Society
No universal definition for a state is possible to be devised A variety of state types:
 Democratic  Welfare state  Bolshevist and fascist  With collective or liberal tendencies

State may be understood as:
 Individual identities – in international relations  An all-encompassing creature – in relations with society

Foucauldian paradigm:
 No unitary state whatsoever  Instead focus on social policies, the law and institutional arrangements

State and Society
Civil society
 Institutions, collectivitie and groupings outside the scope of state’s defined agenda  They complement and are complemented by the state’s projects
• Voluntary associations • Controlling institutions (production of signs and symbols) • Economic market

 The family domain:
• Social • Economic • Political networks • Households all organized around kinship and frendship relations.

Civil Society
Factors shaping civil society:
 Heterogenity  Ideologies  Historical circumstances  Ethnicity, class, gender, social groupings in general  Form of governement  Flexibility towards different national ans state projects

Nation of nations
Primordialist theories on nation
 Eternal and universal  Natural extention of family and kinship
• Man protecting the woman and children • Established sexual roles

Imagined comunities (Anderson,1983)
 Direct results of developements of European history  Print capitalism and technological advancement neccessary for their rise  Literacy is widespread, native tongue is the tool for all classes to read mass publications  Membership is still considered natural rather than chosen  Membership involves sacrifice –fighting, killing or being killed  Passions rather than pure interests, homogeneity = smooth functioning

Nation of Nations
 based on myth-symbol complexity  Ethnic origin of the nation (Smith, 1986)  Long history of centralized governements that created a sense of unity  Political proceses influencing centralization(Zubaida, 1989)  Common destiny crucial for construction and durability of nations

 Bi or multinational  Supra-state EU  Regional autonomy Scotland  Separatist or rebublican (reunion) movements  Zionist movements Liberia, or Israel  Immigrant communities, exiles or committed diasporas (ex post-facto homeland) support

Dynamic Structure of Nation
Boundraries reconstruction Immigration Naturalization Conversion Social and political processes

Nation Projects - taxonomies
Historical taxonomies
• Focus on Europe

Sociological taxonomies
• Focus on various locations • Specific goals like secession, pan-national liberation

• Kultunation (symbolic heritage) and Staatnation (Neuberger, 1986) • Civic nationalism (Ignatieff, 1993)
 Strive for the rights within the community  A sense of belonging one has

Gendered Nation - Biological Reproduction
Biological reproduction – rights to either have families or not
 In some national projects women are forced to increase or decrease thenumber of offspring
• Malthusian discourse (the decrease to prevent future national disaster) • Eugenical discourse: improving the quality of the national stock: classifying women: suitability to have children

 Genealogy
• By being born one is a member of a given collective • Controlling marrige patterns, procreation and sexuality • Fear of miscegenation

Cultural reproduction
Gender symbols can be translated into gender roles Women attempt to challenge traditionally established roles or follow them:
 Emancipaton
• • • • Veilling Voting Education Employment campaigns

 Following the tradition

Immigration, nationality and refugees legislation
 Expected to be dependent on family ties and live together  On the multi-layered level of citizenship:
• Civil • Political • Social rights and responsibilities women are often subjected to specific laws.

Military and wars:
 Profesionalization of the military  Woman participation as soldiers  War victims – raped, interned and refugees

Benedict Anderson Imagined comunities

Imagined communitties
Nation can only be imagined when
 Universal language script (medeival Latin)  New history and cosmology patterns  Old organiational patterns vanished gradually
• Monarchy – divine rulers • Hierarchy

That happened in Western Europe and elswhere due to:
 Economic change  Social and scientific discoveries  Devolopement of new, rapid comunication  A search of the link between power, fraternity and time (history)

Imagined communitties
Devolopement of print as commodity
 A range of new ideas could be transmitted or smuggled if neccessary  Manuscripts replaced by reproductable knowlege  Early print capitalism emerged – branches of printing bussinesses and publishing houses – national boundraries ignored  An early market search – literate Europe  First – Latin readers – the others will quickly follow  Cheap editions in vernaculars - mass readership developement

Latin Transformation
Latin removed from the educational and eccleciastical contexts Latin – entered as a language of print – unification needed Impact of Reformation and the popularisation of ‘non-Latin’ languages (Luther – writing in German, popular by his name, first ever bests-selling author) Protestantism as an advocaate of print-capitalism Index Librarium Prohibitium – Vatican on the other pole (decrease of power) New masses of readers – non-Latin speakers enter

New languages
Europe was not as universalistic in political systems as in linguistic domain
 New vernaculars for administration – Anglo-Saxon in England for courts  After the Norman conquest French mixing with Anglo-Saxon resulted in new English (Early English)  Choice of new language as dominant is pragmatic, unselfconcious, and a gradual process – contributed to the decline of imagined European, Christendom- dominated communitty.

Languages fatality
Can be positive- generates language diversity Unifies many ‘little nations’
 Unique fields of exchange  printproducing language varieties and opening the geographical boundraries

Interplay between fatality, technology and capitalism Print- capitalism decided wchich langages were to extinct or deteriorate (closer to print vernacular = succesfull)

Imagined communitties conclusion
Modern nation was preconditioned by;
 Convergence of capitalism and print technology  Fatal created diversity of human languages  Imagined community concept appeared Contemporary naton-states are bound together by the existance of those unifying print- languages and emerging new nation projects are the evidence.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful