Militarized Nationalism as a Platform for Feminist Mobilization? The Case of the Exiled Burmese Women's Movement

Citation:

Olivius, Elisabeth, and Jenny Hedström. 2019. "Militarized Nationalism as a Platform for Feminist Mobilization? The Case of the Exiled Burmese Women's Movement." Women's Studies International Forum 76.

Authors: Elisabeth Olivius, Jenny Hedström

Abstract:

Feminist scholars have convincingly demonstrated how militarism and nationalism rely on the (re)production of gendered hierarchies. As a result, feminism is often assumed to be at odds with these political projects. In this article, we demonstrate that this is not always and not necessarily the case: in contrast, militarized nationalism may even constitute fertile ground for the mobilization of feminist organization and activism. We make this argument drawing on an in-depth case study of the emergence and evolution of an exiled Burmese women's movement from within armed ethno-nationalist struggles in the borderlands of Myanmar. Drawing on interviews with women activists, we examine when and how militarized nationalism can provide a space from which feminist agendas can be articulated and successfully pursued. This case demonstrates that militarized nationalism does not only have the potential to mobilize women's participation, but can provide a platform for feminist organization and activism that transcends, challenges, and eventually reshapes militarized nationalist projects in ways that advance women's rights and equality. These findings call into question generalized assumptions about the conflictual relationship between feminism, militarism and nationalism, and contributes to advance feminist debates about women's mobilization in contexts of armed conflicts and nationalist struggles.

Keywords: feminism, militarism, nationalism, women's activism, Myanmar, armed conflict

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Hierarchies, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Nationalism, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Myanmar

Year: 2019

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