Gender and Nation


Yuval-Davis, Nira. 1993. "Gender and Nation." Ethnic and Racial Studies 16 (4): 621-32. doi: 10.1080/01419870.1993.9993800

Author: Nira Yuval-Davis


The article outlines some of the main dimensions in which gender relations are crucial in understanding and analysing the phenomena of nations and nationalism, and the specific boundaries of inclusions and exclusions that they construct. Three major dimensions of nationalist projects that relate to citizenship, culture and origin are differentiated. In each of them gender relations play specific roles and have mobilized specific struggles. The article looks at the dualistic nature of women's citizenship, as both included and excluded from the general body of citizens. Even when there is a formal equality of women in their political rights as citizens, other modes of exclusion in the political, social and civil spheres continue to operate. The particular ways in which the entry of women into the military has been linked to struggles for women's equality as citizens are examined in this context. In relation to national cultures, both secular and religious, the article examines the ways in which women play the roles of cultural transmitters as well as cultural signifiers of the national collectivity. The last part of the article examines the role of women as biological reproducers of ‘the nation’ and how a variety of means are taken in order to ensure that the biological reproduction will fall within the legitimate boundaries of the collectivity.

Topics: Citizenship, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Nationalism, Religion, Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 1993

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