Nationalism, Citizenship, and Gender
- Joyce P. KaufmanJoyce P. KaufmanDepartment of Political Science, Whittier College
- and Kristen P. WilliamsKristen P. WilliamsDepartment of Political Science, Clark University
Nationalism and the nation-state are both intimately connected to citizenship. Citizenship and nationalism are also linked to gender, as all three concepts play a key role in the process of state-building and state-maintenance as well as in the interaction between states, whether overtly or covertly. Yet women do not figure in the analysis of nationalism and citizenship in the mainstream literature, a gap that feminists have been trying to fill. By interrogating gender, along with the notions of masculinity and femininity, feminist international relations (IR) scholars shed light into the ways that gender is socially constructed. They also investigate the historical process of state formation and show where women are located in nationalist movements. Furthermore, by unpacking the sovereign state, feminist scholars have argued that while mainstream IR views the state as a rational, unitary actor, states are actually gendered entities. Two kinds of feminist literature in IR in regards to the state can be identified: women and the state (how women are excluded in terms of the public–private divide, and through citizenship), and gender and the state (gendered states). In general, feminist scholarship has led to a more complete understanding of the gender-citizenship-nationalism nexus. Nevertheless, some avenues for future research deserve consideration, such as the political and cultural exclusions of women and others in society, the inequalities that exist within states, whether there is such a thing as a “Comparative Politics of Gender,” and the concept of “global citizenship.”
Citizenship confers a sense of belonging to the nation-state, which is the primary actor in the study of international relations (IR). Citizenship matters because it determines the legal relationship about who is included in the body politic and who is excluded. Nationalism is intimately tied to citizenship, as it is the nation-state, through its promotion of nationalism that connects people to a nation. The mainstream literature on nationalism and citizenship omits women in its analysis. Whether focusing on the historical evolution of citizenship as the nation-state developed or assessing whether nationalism's origins are found in the process of modernization or have primordial roots (nationalism is rooted in human nature), women do not figure in this analysis. Yet, as the work of feminist scholars demonstrates, citizenship and nationalism are also gendered constructs. States utilize nationalism, citizenship, and gender in the process of state-building and state-maintenance and as a critical aspect of their interaction with other states, whether overtly or covertly.
As this essay will show, feminist scholarship has interrogated the meanings and understandings of political identity, particularly through the study of citizenship and nationalism. This rich body of literature has led to a more complete understanding of the connection between gender, citizenship, and nationalism. As with all aspects of feminist scholarship, the quintessential question, “Where are the women?,” asked by Cynthia Enloe, underlies feminist scholarship on citizenship and nationalism. While there is both overlap in the literature on citizenship and nationalism, there are also differences in the way that scholars have studied these topics. The debates and questions within the field highlight the complexity and fluidity of these concepts. For example, we can look at whether there is a positive relationship between nationalism and nationalist movements and women's struggle for liberation, or whether these are problematic for women; if citizenship is gendered; whether citizenship can be gender-neutral, promoting equality between men and women, or whether it should be gender-differentiated, recognizing the different roles that men and women play in society, mostly by virtue of women's mothering and caring role; how the division between the public and private spheres plays out in the nation and citizenship claims; and how we understand the connection between the formation of political identities (including national identities) and the historical process of state-formation and state-maintenance. As Peterson observes, feminists analyze and theorize about the “gender-differentiated consequences of citizenship and nationalism” (1993:8).
Feminist scholarship is trans/interdisciplinary, with work emanating from scholars in fields such as anthropology, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology. Given the trans/interdisciplinary nature of the scholarship in addressing citizenship and nationalism, it is clear that there is no one approach to understanding these concepts. Feminist scholars have used different methodologies in their study of nationalism and citizenship, including single historical and contemporary case studies, comparative case studies, narratives, and surveys (Ackerly and True 2006). Feminist research also has a normative component too in studying gender relations and women, feminist scholars seek to improve women's status and rights, and overturn patriarchal structures.
Importantly, feminist scholarship on citizenship and nationalism also tells us much about the production of knowledge. By interrogating gender, the notion of masculinity and femininity, feminist scholars examine how gender is socially constructed. At its most fundamental, feminist theory, broadly defined, utilizes gender as the unit of analysis. Feminist scholars show how gender hierarchy becomes normalized and naturalized. And feminist theory can be seen as transformative when such works lead to a rethinking and reconceptualizing of ideas and topics, including citizenship, nationalism, and the state (Peterson 1992a, 2004; see also Enloe 1989; Kim-Puri 2005; Puri 2005; Tickner 2006).
This essay begins with a brief overview of the feminist challenges to the mainstream IR literature on the state, before turning to the discussion of citizenship. In terms of citizenship, the essay reviews the major feminist works that look at the historical formation of early states and modern states in their examination of the role of women and gender, and how citizenship is gendered. The section covers the debate in the literature about whether citizenship should be gender-neutral/equal or gender-differentiated. The essay then turns to the discussion of nationalism, and the work of feminist scholars who have analyzed the gendering of the nation and nationalism. As with the development of citizenship, nationalism is tied to the evolution of the modern nation-state, and the role of women (and men) in the nationalist project. Feminist research has focused on the role of women in nationalist movements. Research has also investigated how the nation itself is gendered. A related area of research, addressed in this review, is the debate over whether nationalism and feminism can co-exist or are in opposition. The review essay concludes with a brief discussion of areas of continued research on nationalism, citizenship and gender.
International Relations and the State: Feminist Challenges to the Mainstream IR literature
The sovereign state is the hallmark of the field of IR. The study of IR broadly defined is about state-to-state relations, assuming territorial sovereign states as the most important political actors (Marx 2002). Concentrating on the state as a political actor implies that factors within states (such as political parties, interest groups, bureaucracies, and so on) are less important, as such factors fall within the realm of domestic politics. Given the levels of analysis paradigm, with the primary focus on systemic factors (balance of power) and relations among states, domestic politics becomes relatively less important (Waltz 1979). Moreover, the centrality of the state and the assumption that it functions as a unitary, rational actor, led IR scholars to focus on topics such as war, security, power, democracy and democratization, international organizations, and the international political economy. On the whole, these scholars did not address gender and women in their analysis of IR. The 1980s and early 1990s mark a turning point in mainstream IR with the publication of works of feminist IR scholars such as Cynthia Enloe (1989), J. Ann Tickner (1992), V. Spike Peterson (1992b), Christine Sylvester (1994), Sandra Whitworth (1994) and others. Feminist IR research began at the end of the 1980s, but the boom, according to Tickner (2006: 19), in empirical work began in the mid-1990s. Since then, there has been a significant amount of feminist IR research, building on feminist research in other disciplines. In utilizing a gender analysis in their examination of mainstream topics in IR, these scholars challenged the dominant paradigms in the field by bringing women and gender to the forefront, recognizing the masculinist bias in IR – that “only one gender, the male, appeared to define International Relations” (Youngs 2004:78). As Tickner notes, “Whereas much of IR is focused on describing and explaining the behavior of states, feminists are motivated by the goal of investigating the lives of women within states or international structures in order to change them” (2006:25). Such research opens up the space for understanding where women are – not that they are not there, but that they are there and we should know about them. How the world works, whether in looking at war, peace, international organizations, and so forth, is incomplete without understanding where the women are located (Tickner 2001). For example, feminist scholars have shown that topics such as prostitution around military bases, the supporting roles of women with spouses in the military, the unpaid domestic labor not accounted for in a state's GNP, the fact that women and children make up the vast majority of refugees, and women engaging in political violence, overlooked by mainstream IR, are worthy of study (Peterson and Runyan 1999; Enloe 2000; Tickner 1997, 2001; Sjoberg and Gentry 2007).
Feminist scholars, such as Gillian Youngs, have also pointed out that studying women and gender in the context of IR are both important endeavors. Feminist research is important for developing theories and empirical research about women. Highlighting “the concept of gender keeps to the fore the relational nature of categorizations of male and female, and signals the importance of not taking either as given or necessarily natural” (Youngs 2004:77). Youngs also argues that we cannot get a complete understanding of IR unless we include women.
Consequently, in unpacking the sovereign state, feminist IR scholars have argued that while mainstream IR considers the state as a rational, unitary actor, states are actually gendered entities. With the dichotomy of public (political and economic – and male-dominated) and private (home family – location of women) within the state, in which the public is where politics happens, the gendered nature of states is reinforced (Peterson 1999; Tinsman 2004; Youngs 2004). As long as mainstream IR continues to privilege the state as a unitary actor engaged in relations with other states within the international system, the masculinist bias in the discipline remains. Elevating the status of the (male) state, in which the public sphere dominates over the private sphere, further entrenches the power divide between men and women, masculinity and femininity (Pettman 1996, 1998; Hooper 2001; Steans 2006).
What emerged from this discussion of the state were two feminist literatures in IR in regards to the state: women and the state (how women are excluded in terms of the public–private divide, and through citizenship), and gender and the state (gendered states) (Kantola 2007: 271). Consequently, when considering mainstream IR topics such as security, rather than looking only at violence/war between states, feminist scholars have looked at the connection between violence and masculinity. That violence is mostly perpetrated by men and is used against women within the state (domestic violence, rape, and so forth). Feminist IR theorists focus on that connection, which previously had been omitted from the study of IR. How such “masculinity is constructed, internalized, enacted, reinforced, and glorified” is important for understanding state behavior and security (Peterson 2000:19–20). Security may be about war and violence at the state level, but masculinity, the militarization of states, also affects women within the state. Feminist scholars, therefore, point out that understanding what is meant by security requires an unpacking of the term. A gender analysis of security leads to different questions and answers about violence and war, and thus IR.
Scholars, such as Kantola, built on this feminist research on the state with a third approach: the gendered reproduction of the state. Such scholars recognize that the existing state structure privileges states in the international system, a privileging in which masculinity/men are deemed superior to femininity/women: “States support a certain gender order to uphold their own authority, a key aspect of sovereignty” (Kantola 2007:275). There is a link between gender and the construction of state sovereignty: women are expected to fulfill certain roles in the sovereign state (i.e., reproducing citizens through their roles as mothers). While women perform these roles in service to the state, those same roles mean that women are also excluded from the public sphere, although as many feminist scholars point out, the public–private divide is not so wide – the public sphere is dependent on the private sphere (Anthias and Yuval-Davis 1989; Peterson 2000; Youngs 2004; Kantola 2007).
Consequently, Kantola (2007) argues for feminist scholarship to move beyond the state at the critical level of analysis, to look at other “actors” (i.e., social movements) and other “sites” (i.e., the economy, cities, and the household). Moving beyond the state includes research on globalization and interdependence, topics of interest to mainstream IR scholars, particularly in the post-Cold War period (Kantola 2007:272–3).
State-Formation and Citizenship: Gendered Entities
In unpacking the sovereign state and using a gender analysis, feminist scholars (not just those in IR) have examined the emergence of the state and its maintenance, focusing on several aspects, including the historical evolution of the state (early and modern-state formation) which included the concept of citizen and citizenship, and the debates on equality versus difference in terms of women's citizenship and participation in the public sphere. As this section will show, in examining the historical process of state formation, asking questions about whether citizenship is gender-neutral or gender-differentiated, feminist scholars have challenged the mainstream literature on citizenship.
The mainstream literature, particularly in the analysis of Western, liberal democracies, defined citizenship as the “full membership in a political community and that community is generally defined as a national political community” (Meehan 1991:126). The work of T.H. Marshall underlies much of the traditional literature on citizenship as he focused on citizenship as an evolutionary process that begins with civil rights, then political rights, and finally, social rights (Meehan 1991; Parry 1991; Vogel 1991; Leech 1994; Siim 2000; Locher and Prugl 2001). Civil rights, which emerged in the eighteenth century, are those defined as “equal access to and equal protection by the law,” such as freedom of speech; political rights, which emerged in the nineteenth century, include voting, holding public office, and other forms of political participation; and social rights, emerging in the twentieth century, refer to “benefits of the welfare state” (Meehan 1991:126). Thus the literature focused on rights of citizenship and defined citizenship as one of inclusion in the body politic. This work did not acknowledge that women were not included as citizens (Lister 1997a).
Voet argues that “most feminist theorists writing in the period 1968 to 1989 agreed that feminist issues could not, or could only barely, be phrased in the vocabulary of citizenship” (1998:7). The marked change in terms of feminism and citizenship came in 1989 and after with a slew of articles and books devoted to the topic, in large part coinciding with the end of the Cold War. These feminist scholars sought to bridge the neglected connection between feminism and citizenship studies (Voet 1998:7). Utilizing historical case studies, feminist scholars drew attention to how women were excluded from citizenship (Lister 1997a). Scholars looked at both how citizenship came to be as a historical construct and how it is practiced today (Canning and Rose 2001:427). Feminist political theorists demonstrated that classical political theorists, including Aristotle and Machiavelli, viewed citizenship as dependent on manliness and masculinity (Elshstain 1981; Voet 1998). Marshall's model of citizenship was criticized for not acknowledging the dynamics of the evolution of citizenship as related to gender and women (Yuval-Davis 1993; Voet 1998). The emphasis on social-liberal citizenship, “the idea that everyone should be treated equally in the public sphere: the sphere of justice. In the private sphere – the sphere of the family – we may enact our personal ideas of the good life or our strong ideas of morality,” was problematic (Voet 1998:11). Feminist scholars criticized social-liberalism, noting that women remain in positions of inequality, as evidenced by their low numbers of political representation in governing bodies and their wages relative to men's (Voet 1998:11). The unequal position of women in society, therefore, means an unequal citizenship.
Moreover, not all states have followed the evolutionary path Marshall proposes, with differing outcomes for men and women. According to Sylvia Walby (1994), in the case of “First World” countries, political citizenship for men came much earlier than that for women. The citizenship rights gained in developing countries differed from those of the developed states. As developing countries became independent from their colonial powers, men and women often gained political citizenship (franchise) at the same time (see also Fraser and Gordon 1992, for a critique of Marshall's work). Additionally, in many of the Western countries women gained political rights before civil rights, rather than civil rights preceding political rights as Marshall's model claims (Walby 1994:384; see also Lister 1997b).
In essence feminist scholars studying citizenship are interested in understanding, as Pettman (1996:15) asks, “How do women experience citizenship?” She shows how the maternal construction of women's citizenship, while seemingly in the private sphere, is in fact linked to the public sphere by the state's claims on women's roles as to their service to the state. As mothers, women are expected “to give birth to, bring up, and offer to the state future citizens, soldiers, workers” (1996:18).
Siim explicates “the two central feminist criticisms” of the mainstream literature on citizenship. The first feminist critique comes from scholars, Siim points out, such as Carole Pateman, who have interrogated the “abstract universalism of civic republicanism.” The second criticizes the social-liberal view of the public–private dichotomy. Both the notion of universalism of civic republicanism and the division of society into public and private spheres relegate women to positions of inferiority and exclusion from citizenship (2000:29–30).
The Historical Evolution of Early and Modern State Formation and Women's Citizenship Status
An examination of the emergence of city-states in Greece reveals that the notion of a political community becomes important and has implications for relations between men and women in the body politic. As Peterson states, “Fighting for a common purpose took on new meaning, and devotion to the public sphere took priority over private desires” (Peterson 2000:13). Thus, in early state formation/making, the public (politics) becomes elevated in status relative to the private (family) sphere, thus the hierarchy that “privileges” the public at the expense of the private. Because the public sphere was where the men were located, it was masculinized. With this view of the early state formation, the public–private dichotomy becomes fixed and determines what is considered political – the public sphere. As a result, citizenship becomes “bounded” in the sense that who is included and who is excluded, who participates in the public, political life versus those relegated to the private, non-political sphere becomes fixed and patriarchal (Peterson 2000:14, 17).
In the conception of “republican motherhood,” as espoused by theorists as far back as Aristotle, what women had was “indirect citizenship.” In their roles as wives and mothers, women provided important services to the larger community by supporting their husbands in their role in promoting the common good of society and educating their sons to be good citizens (Vogel 1991:68–9). It is evident, therefore, that there is a gendered aspect to the constructed citizenship: woman as citizen-mother (Lister 2000). She is a citizen insofar as her duties and obligations are to produce and educate future citizens and to subordinate her identity and citizenship to the male head of the household. Her citizenship rights are directly linked to those duties and obligations. As feminist scholars have explored early state formation in the Western world they have shown that this division of the public and private sphere, with women's citizenship linked to her reproductive role, heterosexism becomes a social institution linked to state-making (Peterson 1999).
Consequently, rather than the notion of “abstract universal civic republicanism,” feminist scholars have argued that citizenship was not universal, but excluded women, an exclusion based on the public–private divide and patriarchal structure of the state and society. Patriarchy, as Gerda Lerner notes, “as a system is historical: it has a beginning in history” (1986:6). Moreover, patriarchy manifested itself historically through the institutionalization of women's sexual and economic subordination in terms of legal rulings, the policies of the state, and men as heads of households (Lerner 1986:9). With the emergence of Western civilization and early state formation, women's subordination “comes to be seen as ‘natural,’ hence it becomes invisible. It is this which finally establishes patriarchy firmly as an actuality and an ideology” (Lerner 1986:10; see also Mies 1998 on capitalist patriarchy). By the time the modern state emerges, patriarchy as a system is steadfast in its presence. For example, Pateman's (1988) work on the sexual contract (i.e., wives’ subordinate role to their husbands upon marriage) and the link to modern patriarchy reinforced women's subordination to men, and further entrenched the public–private divide. As noted by Arnot et al., Pateman's sexual contract, “is precisely the focus of women's struggles for citizenship” (2000:165).
Western feminist scholars thus began by examining modern state making, particularly in the Western world. In this literature, political theorists examined the development and evolution of the liberal state, which emphasized individual rights and equality protected by the government. With this emphasis on individual rights and equality, came the public–private distinction. In creating and maintaining this public–private divide, as feminists point out, women were not able to participate in public life – the life of the citizen. Men were heads of households and thus women did not have legal rights separate from their husbands and fathers (Dietz 1987; Vogel 1991). Feminist scholars argued that the liberal Western state did not ensure equality for all its citizens, despite what they espoused (Dietz 1987; Pateman 1988; Jones 1990; Peterson, 1999, 2000; Moghadam 2003; Steans 2006). And in studying contemporary citizenship, scholars have shown that while many states have overturned the “legal barriers to women's equality,” women have yet to achieve gender equality because of existing “hierarchical gendered structures” and the continued expectations about women's and men's appropriate roles in the state (Tickner 2006:39).
In demonstrating how women were excluded from citizenship in modern state-formation, scholars examined historical case studies beginning with the nineteenth century and the French Revolution, which made claims for universal rights of all citizens. The reality belied the perception of inclusive citizenship and nationality (and with the emergence of nationalism and the modern state, citizenship and nationalism overlap). The French Revolution and the citizenship laws passed by the Napoleonic regime legalized women's exclusion. The Napoleonic Code made explicit that “familial male/female relations were central to the authority and development of the power of the modern nation-state” (Sluga 1998:94). Here we see the emergence/reinforcement of the citizen-soldier, the link to a national army and citizenship, an army comprised of men; the patriarchal family was seen as the link to the state. The nation was to be defended by its male citizens, and fathers were to educate their sons to be good citizens and soldiers. In promoting this particular conception of citizenship and the nation-state, the public sphere was imagined and identified as masculine (Sluga 1998:104; see also Vogel 1991; Stevens 2007).
As Pettman shows, “The enlightenment's man turns out, indeed, to be a man. The state subject becomes an individual male – citizen, soldier, worker – a reasonable man. Women are not only different, but constructed in relation to men, and given inferior value” (1996:7). For example, aspects of the modern state, including capitalism, individualism, secularism, and private property, reinforced the public sphere of men's activity and citizenship, and the authority of the state (Peterson 2000:15; see also Vickers 2006). Moreover, laws on marriage and inheritance became further means for the reinforcement of gender constructions and the public–private divide. At the same time that the French regime promoted the male citizen-soldier-worker, women's status remained inferior. A woman who married a foreigner “assumed the nationality of her husband” because nationality (and thus citizenship) was determined by her marital status (Sluga 1998:94; Sluga 2000; see articles on contemporary cases of international marriage and citizenship in the 2008 issue of Citizenship Studies). Feminist scholars show that in the process of state formation, “naming what is public and what is private is inherently political, because to draw the boundary is to define what is politicized and what is not” (Peterson 2000: 16; see also Walby 1994; Pettman 1996; and Sluga 1998, 2000 on the public–private divide and the modern state).
Thus, in studying the historical evolution of citizenship and how the modern state continued to maintain the public-private divide, feminist scholars studied how women challenged their inferior status of citizenship. For example, research shows that in looking at the early suffrage and women's rights movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in Europe, these activists made claims for maternal citizenship and to overturn laws on derivative citizenship (that which derived from a woman's marital status). Maternal citizenship reinforced the notion that women, by virtue of their mothering/caring role in society by giving birth and raising children, did provide a service to the state and therefore deserved equal legal rights. Legal rights of equality, however, did not always translate into equal participation and representation in practice (Pettman 1996:18–19; Sluga 2000; Spiro 2004). Moreover, as scholars have shown, the women's demands for suffrage were problematic for those critics who argued that “female self-determination – commensurate with the exercise of will by women – would result in both the neglect of women's maternal duty to the nation, and – by creating more masculine women – the dissipation of the virility of the nation and its men” (Sluga 2000:502).
Other scholars have studied the link between gender, women and the state in non-European states. One of the first to do so in the context of Africa is Parpart and Staudt's 1989 edited volume that used gender to analyze the state. As in the case of European countries, women's participation in the formal politics of the state – the public sphere – is quite low. Patriarchy in these African countries, however, did not mean that women would not push for a place in the public sphere. The rich case study research has shown that in socialist states in Africa, women fared better, but not much, in terms of representation in legislative bodies. The state maintains a preference for authority and control in the hands of men – whether in terms of land, political authority, economic resources, and so forth. Class and gender are part and parcel of the colonization and postcolonization period in state development and maintenance in Africa. In some cases there are openings for women to participate and in other cases those openings do not exist. Patriarchy remains ever present as a structure of men's dominance in the state and over women: women's continued exclusion in the public sphere (Chazan 1989; Parpart and Staudt 1989a; Parpart and Staudt 1989b). Moghadam (2003) shows how citizenship is gendered in the Middle East and North Africa, as evidenced by children's citizenship coming from fathers and that divorce is easier for men, for example. Zaatari (2006) examines how women's roles as mothers provide a way to engage in public life in Lebanon. In this research and other case studies, scholars have probed both the status and practice of citizenship (and nationalism) (see Sharoni 1995; Swirski 2000; Jamal 2006).
Scholars have also noted that in studying periods of instability and turmoil, whether in times of civil war or revolutions, interstate wars, and decolonization, national identity and boundaries (and thus citizenship) become arenas of contestation. Feminist scholars have shown that during these times women also have sought formal equality, pushing for inclusive citizenship. The research question arises as to when and in what ways women are successful in gaining equality (Canning and Rose 2001:433; see also Walby 1994; Werbner and Yuval-Davis 1999; Cusack 2000; Sluga 2000; Walby 2000; Giles and Hyndman 2004a; Ashe 2007 for case studies).
On the whole, the feminist research on the historical evolution of the state and citizenship demonstrates that women's political citizenship is gendered and occurs through “the incorporation of gender difference into the construction of the state. Gender difference is defined by women's disproportionate association with biological and social reproductive labor” (McDonagh 2002:547).
Debates within Feminist Scholarship on Citizenship: Equality Versus Difference
While many feminist scholars studied the historical evolution of the state and how the state is gendered, as noted above, another debate emerged about “whether or not citizenship should be gendered and, if so, what this should mean” (Voet 1998:15). The debate centered on the claims of Marxist feminists in their critique of the liberal state, the maternalist/social feminists who argued for “maternal citizenship,” and feminists who argued for a citizenship based on women's equal status in society. In an attempt to move beyond the “equality versus difference” debate, other scholars have argued for a feminist citizenship that recognizes women's roles in the private sphere but promotes women's active citizenship in the public sphere. In this way, feminist scholars moved beyond discussions of women's exclusion from citizenship in the state to ways in which women can be included as citizens, particularly in democratic institutions (Lister 1997a; Siim 2000). What feminist scholarship contributes to the citizenship literature, therefore, is more than just the “traditional definitions and measures of political participation” (such as voting, participation in campaigns, and so on), but that “definitions of politics” in the mainstream citizenship literature is “male biased […] based on norms derived from activities in arenas traditionally dominated by men and their interests” (Jones 1990:804). Claims of a gender-neutral citizenship by mainstream scholars belie the reality that fundamentally the basis of the state and citizenship is male (Voet 1998).
Thus, in the critique of liberal theory and the emergence of the modern, democratic, capitalist state, Marxist feminists argued that capitalist states oppress women, in which men form the ruling class which dominates in the society and state. Until the liberal state is toppled, and with it the taking apart of the “capitalist and patriarchal structure,” women will remain oppressed (Dietz 1987:8). As Dietz (1987) argues, however, the Marxist feminist argument is incomplete. After the revolution to overthrow capitalism succeeds and there is economic freedom, how does political freedom come about?
Maternalist/social feminists argue for a citizenship based on women's difference. One of the earliest and foremost proponents of this view, Jean Bethke Elshtain, argues that women's mothering role in the private sphere should be elevated in society and the state as a means for women's full citizenship. In other words, the public sphere is to be restructured such that the private sphere and women's mothering roles mean the politicization of the private sphere (Elshtain 1981; Dietz 1987; Voet 1998). For Elshtain, “familial ties and modes of childrearing are essential to establish the minimal foundation of human, social existence. What we call human capacities could not exist outside a familial mode […]” (1981:326–27). Sarah Ruddick argues for “maternal citizenship,” that women, as mothers, have particular qualities that will make for better politics, namely that there is a connection between mothers and peace (Ruddick 1980; Lister 1997b; Ruddick 1998). Citizens, therefore, are not the individuals that liberal political theory espouses, but encompass women in the private sphere, in their roles as mothers. Because maternalist feminists argue against “both the male liberal individualist world view and its masculinist notion of citizenship,” this is not a conservative view of citizenship, but a feminist view (Dietz 1987:11).
Many feminist scholars, however, have criticized a gender-differentiated citizenship based on women's maternal/familial roles and the related argument that such roles imply that women are more moral than men. Dietz asserts that there is a “definitional problem” for maternal/social feminism – how to define “family” and what constitutes a “family.” She points out that “Even setting aside the family as an institution, women and feminists may also wonder upon what basis we are ‘maternal thinkers.’ Are we that as mothers, as potential future mothers, as women generally, even if, individually, some of us cannot or choose not to have children?” (1985:24). A further critique of maternal/social feminism is that it reinforces the public–private dichotomy and in attempting to elevate women's roles in the private sphere, ends up idealizing that sphere (Dietz 1985:25; see also Lister 1997b). Dietz further argues that “the bond among citizens is not like the love between a mother and child, for citizens are not intimately, but politically involved with each other,” thus the idea of maternal citizenship/social feminism based on women's mothering/caring roles is insufficient (1985:31).
Recognizing that gender-differentiated citizenship based on women's roles as mothers in the private sphere reinforces women's unequal citizenship status, other scholars argued for citizenship based on equality between men and women. In doing so, feminist reinterpretations of citizenship also moved beyond the equality versus difference debate. Democratic citizenship, in which all participate because all are included, is what matters: “Being a citizen is not (the same as) being a mother, nor vice versa” (Dietz 1985:33).
Scholars have looked at the connection between gender and citizenship by focusing on a range of topics including women's status and position in the welfare state, women and the nation, women and democracy, and so forth (Voet 1998:12–13; see also Hobson 2000). In doing so, these scholars opened up the public–private divide by articulating what it means to be a citizen, more than just understood as that which happens in the public sphere (Voet 1998; Lister 2007). Rather than emphasizing “gender-neutral” or “gender-differentiated” citizenship, scholarship in the field of gender and citizenship studies moved to a discussion of “gender-inclusive,” particularly with the work of Ruth Lister starting in the early 1990s and after (Gordon-Zolov and Rogers 2010:15). In essence, by looking at the issues of poverty, children, disability, and so forth, works such as these focus on both the status and practice of citizenship (Werbner and Yuval-Davis 1999; Canning and Rose 2001; Lister 2007). Utilizing a gender analysis, this research demonstrates that women may have the status of citizenship within their states, but not the practice of it, given discrimination and the continuing views of women's roles and location in the private sphere (Canning and Rose 2001:427). Lister argues that “the public–private divide has to be seen as an essentially contested concept” (2000:44). For her, a “woman-friendly conception of citizenship” would bring together “the gender-neutrality of an approach which seeks to enable women to participate with men as equals in the public sphere (suitably transformed) with a gender-differentiated recognition and valuing of women's responsibilities in the private sphere” (2000:74). Consequently, for women's inclusion in the public sphere and thus full citizenship, feminist scholars such as Lister argue that there needs to be a fundamental redefinition of the private and public spheres – “radical changes.” This means a rethinking of the value of unpaid care work and wage labor; a change in men's behavior in the public and private spheres is needed. The state needs to recognize and value women's unpaid care work and not exclude women from the public sphere (Lister 1993:13; Lister 2000; see also Kershaw 2010 on caregiving and political citizenship).
Building on the work of Lister and others focused on a gender-inclusive citizenship, comparative case studies examining the processes and practices of citizenship enabled scholars to investigate women's exclusion or inclusion as citizens. For example, Siim (2000) looked at the processes and practices of citizenship in three welfare states in Europe (Britain, Denmark, and France), particularly in understanding the gendered division of wage labor and unpaid care work, how men are still considered the breadwinners with women continuing to be dependent on men. In doing so, she noted the feminist debate of equality versus difference, recognizing that there exists a tension in feminist scholarship. In an examination of the United States, in which women gained the right to vote and use maternalist imagery, McDonagh (2002:548) argues for individual equality in terms of not only political citizenship for women but also women's group difference (productive and reproductive labor) as a means for women gaining full citizenship and thus moves beyond the debate on equality versus difference. Recent feminist research continues to argue for a gender-inclusive citizenship (e.g., Longo 2001; for an analysis of EU gender-equality policies see Meier and Lombardo 2008).
Feminist scholars, in recognizing that for public policies to be made that address the needs of women (by virtue of their location in the society and state) such as childcare, healthcare, education, and so forth, argue that women must become politically active. As many scholars have shown in case studies, when women do organize politically on issues of relevance to them, issues found in the private sphere, they become aware of the fact that they share issues and interests with other women, many of whom may not be mothers (Dietz 1985). For example, work on women's peace movements in Israel shows that such movements can transform gendered ideas about the rights of women to participate in political activism. Some women's groups combine motherhood with peace, while others are explicitly feminist, seeking to transform the patriarchal structure of the society (Werbner 1999:233). Cockburn's (1998) work on women's activism in Bosnia, Israel and Northern Ireland, resulted from women's recognition of issues that transcended their differences and enabled them to engage in the public sphere during times of conflict.
As feminist scholars repeatedly point out, however, feminists must also recognize that there are differences among women: “Not all women occupy the same gender territory” (Pettman 1996:22). Women's experiences with and within the state are not uniform. Instead women's experiences are those of individual and specific women (Jones 1990; Pettman 1996; Pettman 1998; Jacoby 1999). As will be seen in the next section on nationalism and gender, not all women experience nationalism and the nation the same way. Some women are able to push for women's rights in the context of national liberation struggles, while for others nationalism is fraught with difficulty in terms of promoting women's rights and thus inclusion in the nation as citizens.
Nationalism and Gender
Emerging from disciplines such as anthropology, history, psychology, and sociology, the literature on nationalism has traditionally focused on the origins, development, and evolution of nations and nationalism, ethnic politics, and national identity. Scholars sought to define a nation and national group (in contrast to an ethnic group and ethnicity), linking characteristics of ethnicity (“common myths and historical memories, a mass public culture, a common economy and common legal rights and duties for all members” (Smith 1991:14)) with territory. The development of nations and national identity relates directly to nationalism, which is defined as an ideology “which holds that the political and national unit should be congruent” (Gellner 1983:1). Mainstream scholars of nationalism assert that modernization, psychological factors, sociological factors, and historical processes are all central to the development of nationalism and national identity (Smith 1971; Connor 1978; Gellner 1983; Hobsbawm 1990; Smith 2001). In framing the main approaches to nationalism, scholars focus on primordialism, modernization, and instrumentalist approaches. Primordialism understands nationalism and national identity as rooted in human nature – the psychological and emotional need of individuals to belong to a group, a collective entity. Scholars look to the roles of language, culture, traditions, and history as some of the factors that lead to the development of group consciousness that is reinforced over time in the form of national/ethnic identity (Shils 1995). For others, the process of modernization (such as the development of print technology and capitalism, industrialization, urbanization) transforms states into more homogeneous societies. In turn, national identity and nationalism develop (Gellner 1983; Hobsbawm 1990; Anderson 1991; Byman 2002). It is with the French Revolution and industrial revolution originating from Britain that one sees the beginnings of nationalism – and the modern state (noted earlier in the section on citizenship) (Hearn 2006). Instrumentalist approaches to nationalism and national identity look at how political elites use nationalism to garner the support of the masses (Dawisha 2002).
Importantly, in all these variants, the mainstream literature on nationalism omitted gender and women in its analysis. One measure of this omission is evidenced by entries on women and gender in major edited works on nationalism and ethnicity that survey the literature. For example, the comprehensive reader, Nationalism, edited by two sociologists, John Hutchinson and Anthony D. Smith (1994), lists 49 entries, only one of which has “women” in the title and which has a specific focus on women, gender and nationalism (chapter by Anthias and Yuval-Davis 1994). In 1996, Hutchinson and Smith published another edited reader, Ethnicity, of which only one of 63 entries had “women” in the title (chapter by Kandiyoti 1996).
In attempting to consider the location of women and gender in nationalism and the nation, beginning in the 1980s and 1990s, feminist scholars challenged the mainstream literature (see, for example, Anthias and Yuval-Davis 1989; Enloe 1989; Walby 1992; Hall et al. 1993; Yuval-Davis 1993, 1997; Peterson 1993, 1999; Cockburn 1998; Nagel 1998). Several feminist/women's studies interdisciplinary journals published special issues (all in the 1990s) focused on nationalism and citizenship, including three special issues of Feminist Review. “Nationalisms and National Identities” (1993a), “Thinking Through Ethnicities” (1993b), and “Citizenship: Pushing the Boundaries” (1997). Two other journals focusing on feminist/women's studies published special issues on these topics: Gender and History, “Gender, nationalisms and national identities” (1993) and Women's Studies International Forum, “Links Across Differences: Gender, Ethnicity, and Nationalism” (1996). As further evidence of the richness of feminist scholarship that emerged from the work done in the 1990s, the major mainstream journal, Nations and Nationalism, published a special issue on “Gender and Nationalism” in October 2000.
In challenging the mainstream literature, feminist scholars highlighted the connection between the emergence of the modern nation-state and nationalism and the privileging of the public sphere over the private sphere, which, in turn, meant the privileging of the male citizen-soldier over the female citizen, masculinity and militarization in service of the state, and so forth (Peterson 1999; see also Tinsman 2004 for a review of recent works). Feminist scholars have approached nationalism in two main ways: (1) through the examination of women's roles in nationalist movements, and (2) the development of theory in analyzing the “ways in which ‘the nation’ is premised on particular gender identities and meanings” (Ranchod-Nilsson and Tetreault 2000a:2–3). Relatedly, in exploring nationalism, scholars have debated whether nationalism and feminism are “compatible” and can “coincide” (West 1992, 1997; Einhorn 1996; Cockburn 1998; Cockburn 2000; Delap et al. 2006). Through an examination of case studies, such works have shown how nationalist movements may provide the opening for women to make gains in their political, social, and economic rights. At other times, women are expected to return to their traditional gender roles when the nationalist movement succeeds (Jacoby 1999; Cockburn 2000; Alison 2004).
Role of Women in Nationalist Movements
Recognizing the omission of women in analyzing nationalist movements, feminist scholars began to investigate where women are located in such movements, particularly in the developing countries as a result of colonialism and imperialism (Ranchod-Nilsson and Tetreault 2000a; see also Jayawardena 1986; Kandiyoti 2000). These works were in the form of case studies in which women participated in anticolonial movements, looking at the role of modernization in terms of nationalist and feminist goals. Women argued for equality in the political, cultural, and economic spheres in their support for nationalist movements. In this way, women sought equality in domestic politics. When anticolonial movements were also traditional, women's calls for equality did not succeed – hence the link to modernization (Ranchod-Nilsson 2000).
Kumari Jayawardena's pathbreaking 1986 work, Feminism and Nationalism in the Third World, examined women's participation in nationalist movements in Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. She showed how women from both the middle class and working class joined the struggle for national self-determination and the end of colonialism. In exploring women's roles in nationalist liberation movements, Jayawardena noted the connection between class and capitalism and the class differences of women (and men) within these societies. Her work demonstrated that women are not monolithic – some women fought for equal rights “within the framework of capitalism and the post-colonial state in which the bourgeoisie retained power […] others continued the struggle, joined revolutionary movements for social and economic change, and brought a revolutionary feminist perspective into political movements” (Jayawardena 1986:ii). For the leaders of these nationalist movements at the time, women's emancipation was front and center. Yet, for many, including women themselves, the maintenance of family as the basic unit of society mattered. Thus for some in the reform movement, Jayawardena found, there existed a conservative bias with women remaining in a subordinate role and lack of questioning of the patriarchal structure. In the end, women's emancipation was subordinate to the nationalist liberation movement. With independence and the emergence of new states, women were expected to go back to their gendered roles, subordinate to men (Jayawardena 1986). This observation, that after the revolution was won women were expected to return to the private sphere, was made by other scholars analyzing nationalism and nationalist movements (Werbner and Yuval-Davis 1999; Blom et al. 2000; Ranchod-Nilsson and Tetreault 2000b).
Ranchod-Nilsson argues that “While this early work on women and nationalism challenged the location, form, and focus of nationalist politics, it remained situated in broader narratives of class struggle, national independence, modernization, and state consolidation. In case after case women appeared to be losers because they were politically marginalized during periods of state consolidation following successful nationalist movements” (2000:168). Ranchod-Nilsson and Tetreault also show that the literature mostly did not go further in addressing the connection between gender, nationalism and citizenship, noting that “nationality and citizenship are far more complex and internally differentiated concepts than they usually are represented as being” (2000a:5). As will be discussed below, scholarship then moved to focus on gender, rather than women, looking at the totality of the relationships that are socially constructed and the power distribution that results (Kandiyoti 2000).
Gendered Nationalism: Constructing the Nation
Rather than examining the role of women in specific nationalist movements per se, other scholars have focused on gender and nationalism, namely the “gender dimensions of cultural constructions of ‘the nation’” and “multiple ways in which women are implicated in nationalist struggles that transcend particular social movements” (Ranchod-Nilsson and Tetreault 2000a:5). Studying how women are implicated in these struggles tells us much about “the gender dimensions” of concepts such as citizenship, nation, and state (Ranchod-Nilsson and Tetreault 2000a:5). Scholars have addressed the gendered constructions of masculinity and femininity, and how women serve the nation as reproducers (within the private sphere) and men serve the nation as the protectors (defending the nation in the public sphere). The interplay between these two roles shows that these two spheres are fluid and not easily separated. The markers of who belongs within the nation matter, and gender serves as one of those markers (Blom 2000:17).
Consequently, recognizing that the evolution of the state and nation (and the connection to citizenship), and nationalism and national identity, is replete with gendered constructions, led scholars to categorize the ways in which nationalism is gendered. The pioneering work of feminist scholars Anthias and Yuval-Davis (1989) and Peterson (1999) laid the groundwork for a research agenda on the connection between gender, nations, and nationalism through the articulation of ways in which “gendered nationalism” manifests itself (see also West 1992; McClintock 1993; Enloe 1998; Werbner and Yuval-Davis 1999; Walby 2000). For example, through policies that restrict access to contraception and abortion or those that provide “material rewards” for having more children, women are considered the “biological reproducers of group members.” In their capacity to give birth and role as nurturers and caregivers of society, women are expected to reproduce for the nation. Legislation pertaining to child custody, marriage, property rights, and so forth enables the state to determine the membership in the state – who is a citizen (Peterson 1998:43–4). In such patriarchal structures, women socialize children in terms of the “beliefs, behaviors, and loyalties that are culturally appropriate and ensure intergenerational continuity” (Peterson 1998:44).
Women become the “signifiers of group differences” in which they are the “symbolic markers of the nation and of the group's cultural identity.” In other words, the view of woman-as-nation demarcates the boundaries of a group's identity, enabling it to be compared to other groups (Peterson, 1998:44). The need to preserve and promote the nation and its cultural identity places pressures, therefore, on women to behave in a certain way (Peterson 1999). The promotion of women's reproductive roles and imagery of the nation that is based on familial terms (“birth, blood, sons”) is linked to the differentiation of gender, and also “essentialized, man as warrior, woman as nurturer” (Cockburn 1998:42).
As with the literature on the role of women in nationalist movements, the gendered nationalism focus shows that women do participate in nationalist causes, including conflict and war. As scholars have demonstrated, women support combatants through feeding and clothing them or engage in conflict themselves, often in women-only militias. In this way, women's perceived role in the private sphere of the family is complemented with the public sphere of the nation (Peterson 1998, 1999; for case studies see Lilly and Irvine 2002; Alison 2004; Bouta et al. 2005; McEvoy 2009).
The ways in which nations are gendered entities are clearly linked to sexuality, in particular, the heterosexual relations within the patriarchal family structure, supported and reinforced by the state (Peterson 1999; see also Mosse 1985; Mayer 2000). Homosexuals are viewed with suspicion as their loyalty to the nation-state is questioned by asking how patriotic they can really be as their behavior is seen to transgress what is claimed to be appropriate sexual conduct and gender roles (Nagel 2000:120). For ethnic/national groups, therefore, there is “correct heterosexual masculine and feminine behavior” in which women of one's ethnic/national group are “often depicted as virgins, mothers, pure” while women of the other group are considered “sluts, whores, soiled.” Men of one's ethnic/national group are considered “virile, strong, brave,” while those of the other group are characterized as “degenerate, weak, cowardly.” Men's and women's “proper gender roles and sexual behavior” matter for the nation (Nagel 2000:113). Women's sexuality matters for nationalism because women play a role as a symbol of the nation, and as “wives and daughters” they “are bearers of masculine honor.” Digressions from the appropriate sexual behavior bring dishonor to the nation, and thus to men (Nagel 1998:256). For example, women in mixed marriages are often seen as transgressing appropriate sexual behavior. By marrying a man from another ethnic or national group, a woman is perceived as betraying her own group, and her loyalty is considered suspect (McClintock 1993; Sluga 2000; Kaufman and Williams 2007).
In terms of gendered nationalism, scholars have examined the connection between gender and nation, particularly what happens to women in times of intrastate and interstate war (Enloe 1998; Nagel 1998; for cases see Jacobs et al. 2000; Moser and Clark 2001; Giles and Hyndman 2004a; Alison 2007; Cockburn 2007). Leaders use feminine metaphors that make clear the threat to the nation, metaphors such as “motherland” (Mostov 2000). In large part this results from the connection between nationalism and militarism, as state-building is often the result of anticolonial or revolutionary conflicts (Nagel 1998). For example, Nagel notes the link between the modern form of Western masculinity and the emergence of modern nationalism in the nineteenth century. The state is “essentially a masculine institution” with hierarchical power and “authority structure” (women are considered subordinate to men). Moreover, there is a “culture of nationalism” that “is constructed to emphasize and resonate with masculine cultural themes. Terms like honour, patriotism, bravery and duty are hard to distinguish as either nationalistic or masculinist, since they seem so thoroughly tied both to the nation and to manliness” (Nagel 1998:251–52). As citizen-warriors, men are the protectors of both the nation and women/children. Women also play a role in promoting the nation, through their roles as daughters, mothers, and wives of soldiers, which reinforces women's domestic identity (Pettman 1996:50–1). In linking back to citizenship, feminist works on militarized violence look at the impact of ethnic nationalism on women in terms of their “legal and political status as citizens” (Giles and Hyndman 2004b:13–14). Invariably women are “dual citizens” in that they are considered a part of the nation/ethnic group or citizens of the state, but at the same time “there is often a separate body of regulations (legal and/or customary) that relate to them specifically as women” (Giles and Hyndman 2004b, citing Yuval-Davis 1994:13–14). Women's legal rights of citizenship related to marriage and citizenship of their children, for example, become areas of contestation during times of conflict. Women's ability to access contraception and abortion are restricted, as leaders call for the need to produce more children for the nation (Enloe 1998; Peterson 1998; Kaufman and Williams 2007).
Moreover, in times of conflict, the link between nationalism, masculinity, and militarization becomes particularly acute for women as they are often the victims of rape and other sexual violence in the name of the nation/ethnic group (Pettman 1996; Enloe 1998; Peterson 1999; D'Costa 2003; Alison 2007; Tickner and Sjoberg 2007; Leiby 2009). For example, as Yugoslavia began to disintegrate in the early 1990s and the various ethnic groups began to clamor for power, reinforcing their ethnic/nationalist identity, women became targeted by virtue of their membership in a particular national/ethnic group. Women were systematically raped. They were victims of forced impregnation, all in the name of furthering the nationalist goals of the leaders (Alison 2007). The case of Yugoslavia is not unique; case studies by feminist researchers show clearly the pervasiveness of violence against women during wars and conflicts, such as Sudan and Sierra Leone (Macklin 2004; see also other chapters in Giles and Hyndman 2004a; Coulter 2009).
Feminist research continues to address the ways in which nationalism is gendered, providing important contributions to the literature on nationalism. Scholars have also focused on the ways in which women are not only symbols of nationalist discourse in terms of the constructions of nation and gender, but are also able to “restructure national projects to incorporate feminist goals” (Vickers 2006:95). The observation by feminist scholars that national projects can include feminist goals leads to the question of whether, in fact, nationalist and feminist goals are congruent, as will be addressed in the next section.
Feminism and Nationalism: Are They in Opposition?
Most scholarship on gendered nationalism demonstrates that women are negatively affected by nationalism, and that nationalism conflicts with feminism. These authors argue that women do not benefit in the long-run by their participation in nationalist movements – that when the movement succeeds in overthrowing the imperial or colonial power, women are relegated to their previous gendered roles as mothers and wives. Women do not make significant gains in their political and economic rights (Ranchod-Nilsson 2000a; see also Werbner and Yuval-Davis, 1999; Herr 2003; Bouta et al. 2005; Disney 2008).
Yet, other scholars argue that feminism and nationalism are not necessarily in opposition, leading to a fruitful debate in the field (Cockburn 1998; Cockburn 2000). For example, Sylvia Walby critiques Yuval-Davis's work, arguing that “the extent to which women, or certain groups of women, support different, and sometimes competing, national and state projects” makes clear the need to analyze how and in what ways feminism and nationalism are in conflict (2000:527). In fact, women participate in nationalist projects and “are not simply pawns or symbols of nations” (Walby 2000:537; see also Pettman 1998; Vickers 2006). Vickers (2006) argues that because women organizing in national movements has led to positive outcomes, feminist scholarship needs “to identify situations in which women can organize to take advantage of restructurings in national projects to insert feminist values and goals making the nation-state more women-friendly” (Vickers 2006:95). Delap et al. show how nationalism can be “a potential resource of feminism” as the historical accounts of nationalism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries indicate that “feminism periodically became a resource of nationalism” (2006:252). What case studies on nationalist conflicts make evident is that “women have shown a remarkable and long-lasting commitment to nationalism. The relationship between nationalism and feminism calls into question how one defines feminism and what it means to be a feminist. There is no ‘universal blueprint’ for feminism and, like nationalism, it can be imperialist as well as emancipatory” (Delap et al. 2006:242–3). In answering the question about whether feminism and nationalism are compatible, Cockburn states: “It depends of course on what kind of nationalism and what kind of feminism you are talking about – for both of them are plural movements” (1998:41).
Vickers’ work on sex/gender regimes as related to nationalism and the nation, for example, explores why some women endorse national projects. Moving beyond an analysis of Western states, she looks at non-Western states, such as the Philippines. She argues for the inclusion of “non-western women's experiences with anti-colonial and post-colonial national projects” in order to have a better feminist scholarship on nationhood and nation building (2006:103). She writes that “most feminist scholars share the conviction that nations are gendered” and that “gender inequality was considered a constant and all nation-states viewed as patriarchal,” but argues that only recently has feminist scholarship recognized that the interaction between women and the nation is not the same across the board (Vickers 2006:89). Rather, different women experience the nation and nationalism differently, much of which depends on whether the nation-state is able to provide security and citizenship to women. Vickers notes that “Where nation-states fail or attempts to establish them are prolonged […] chances for achieving any feminist goals are slim indeed. The key to productive feminist research is to identify factors that empower women to self-organize, open up space in national projects and insert women-friendly values” (2006:103).
In addressing the question of whether or not nationalism is incompatible with feminism brings together both the role of women in nationalist movements/nationalism and the gendered representation of women in the nation. Scholars have noted that women's political participation in nationalist movements can open up space for political activism (or close it) (Ranchod-Nilsson and Tetreault 2000a; see also West 1992, 1997; Ryan 1997; Werbner and Yuval-Davis 1999; Cockburn 2007). Ranchod-Nilsson and Tetreault note that
we need to address the ways in which nationalist projects are historically and culturally embedded. While it may be true that all nations are gendered, we must be alert to the specific gender meanings invoked at particular times and places and the ways in which these meanings change over time. In other words, we must resist theorizing the gender dimensions of national identities in terms of concepts that are static or artificially universal: there is no single “woman's view” of the nation; there is no unambiguous “woman's side” in nationalist conflicts. (2000a:7)
Feminist research needs to focus on how and why gender and nation relations vary (Vickers and Vouloukos 2007). For example, Vickers and Vouloukos's (2007) work on Greek women's participation after the War of Independence shows that the public–private divide was not so clear, unlike most Western European states during periods of nation-state building, in which the public–private spheres were clearly demarcated, and affected women's participation in the nation-state-building process. The ethnic nationalism (an exclusive nationalism defined by ethnicity, rather than civic nationalism which is inclusive) experienced in Greece opened the space for the mobilization of women for the national project, within limits. They argue that “The idea that civic nationalism is good for women, while ethnic nationalism is not, was shown to be unfounded” (2007:532). Moving beyond the assertion of gender scholars “that nations, nationalisms and nation-making processes are ‘gendered,’” Vickers and Vouloukos “argue that nation/alisms and nation-making are gendered if, and to the extent that. (1) they treat or affect women and men differently; (2) they mobilize men and women into national movements and processes differently; and (3) women and men benefit or suffer more from national policies” (2007:511). Delap et al. (2006) examines African American's perception of nationalism as central to their feminist causes. And earlier, West (1992) argues for a feminist nationalism – that there is such a notion of nationalism that is feminist even if women do not support individual rights or women's role in the public sphere. Consequently, the case studies that feminist scholars examine and analyze show that, indeed, there are different understandings of “women's view” of the nation and women's roles in supporting (or opposing) nationalism and nationalist conflicts (Pettman 1996, 1998; Cockburn 2000; Vickers 2006).
Conclusion: The Continuing State of Feminist Study of Nationalism, Citizenship, and Gender
Building on the earlier works and debates on citizenship and nationalism discussed in this essay, feminist scholarship continues to contribute to the literature in several ways (many, but not all, of which are listed in the references at the end of this essay). For example, in examining the state itself, Kim-Puri criticizes feminist scholars writing on nationalism and the nation for continuing to view the state as a monolithic entity. Instead, she argues that the state should be seen “as a set of social institutions and relations that vary across cultural contexts” (Kim-Puri 2005:144). Further research, therefore, should include recognizing the political and cultural exclusions of women and others in society, as well as the inequalities that exist within states (Kim-Puri 2005:153). Walby (2000:528) proposes the notion of a gender regime, “a system of interrelated gender relations.” By looking more specifically within the state, she locates a gender regime in what she calls “six component structures or domains,” which include cultural institutions, household production, male violence, paid employment, policy, and sexuality. She points to two forms that gender regimes can take: a domestic gender regime, which is the private sphere, and a public gender regime, located in the public sphere. While women remain subordinated in the private sphere relative to the public sphere, and thus excluded, when they enter the public sphere there is still a form of subordination though not exclusion.
Relatedly, in the field of comparative politics, a recent issue of Perspectives on Politics (March 2010), published by the American Political Science Association, was titled “Symposium: A Comparative Politics of Gender.” The authors of the articles opened up the state and looked at how women matter in terms of political representation, institutions, women's rights promoted by governments, and so forth. The overriding question posed for future research was to ask if there is such a thing as a “Comparative Politics of Gender” (CPG). In posing such a question, these scholars argue for continued research comparing women's experiences in various countries.
Another valuable area of research is on the intersectionality of class, race, gender and sexuality (Anthias and Yuval-Davis 1983, 1992; Walby 1992; Agnes 2002; Dhruvarajan and Vickers 2002; Giles and Hyndman 2004b; Anderson 2005; Choo 2006; Cockburn 2007). Scholars have continued to analyze, as Cockburn notes, intersectionality and positionality in terms of “the way individuals and groups are placed in relation to each other in terms of significant dimensions of social difference” (2007:7). These social dimensions of power are class, gender and race. Reflecting the importance of intersectionality as a continued direction for feminist research, Palgrave Macmillan recently announced a new series, The Politics of Intersectionality.
Scholars have also recently focused on “global citizenship.” Moving beyond an analysis of migration of people around the world and “the ubiquity of travel among social elites,” global citizenship attends to the authority and power of supranational institutions to confer rights as well as the enforcement of states’ obligations to adhere to those rights. The notion of a global citizenship, which can increase women's rights, leads to a question about the changing nature of state sovereignty, the hallmark of IR (Gordon-Zolov and Rogers 2010:15–16). Relatedly, research connecting human rights and women's rights is also linked to the state and the impact of globalization, particularly the notion of transnational feminisms, global feminisms and feminist activism (Grewal 1999; Mohanty 2003; Hesford and Kozol 2005; Moghadam 2005; Ferree and Tripp 2006; Reilly 2007; see also Kaplan et al. 1999).
Importantly, one finds in the recent feminist scholarship a recurring theme: that the older works on citizenship and nationalism, particularly how these two concepts are gendered, are the building blocks of the continued prolific body of literature found in the feminist study of nationalism, citizenship and gender, whether examining international marriage laws, the public–private divide within states, migration as a challenge to state sovereignty, and so forth. As evidenced by the numerous books and articles published in journals such as Citizenship Studies, Nations and Nationalism, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Feminist Review, Women's Studies International Forum, and so forth, feminist scholars have contributed and continue to contribute to the growing body of literature.
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Links to Digital Materials
Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women. At http://un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/, accessed May 20, 2011. The website of the Division for the Advancement of Women, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations provides information on the Convention itself, expert group meetings, and NGO participation, focused on the area of women's rights.
European Commission, “Citizenship.” At http://ec.europa.eu/citizenship/index_en.htm, accessed May 20, 2011. European Union website with publications on citizenship rights, including those of people in internationally mixed marriages.
Peacewomen.org. At www.peacewomen.org/, accessed May 20, 2011. “The PeaceWomen Project [a project of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom] promotes the role of women in preventing conflict, and the equal and full participation of women in all efforts to create and maintain international peace and security. PeaceWomen facilitates monitoring of the UN system, information sharing and the enabling of meaningful dialogue for positive impact on women's lives in conflict and post-conflict environments.” The website provides information on the current status of women's citizenship in various countries around the world.
UN Women, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. At http://un.org/womenwatch/daw/daw/index.html. Created in July 2010, this UN office brings together four parts of the UN system, focused on gender equality and women's empowerment (Division for the Advancement of Women, International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, Office of the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, and United Nations Development Fund for Women). Documents available on the site focused on women, nationality, and citizenship include “Women 2000 and Beyond: Women, Nationality and Citizenship,” available at http://un.org/womenwatch/daw/public/jun03e.pdf, accessed May 20, 2011.