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Nationalism and Motherhood

  • By: Patrizia Albanese
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

A number of scholars have noted that women were a particular concern of nationalist regimes because of their prescribed roles within the family, particularly as mothers. According to Julia Kristeva, when it comes to nations and nationalism, “women have the luck and the responsibility of being boundary-subjects.” Anthias and Yuval Davis noted that, among other things, with the rise of nationalism, women come to be seen as “biological reproducers of ethnic collectivities.”

Craig Calhoun explained that nationalism is a distinctly gender-biased ideology wherein family becomes the source of a nation's continuity in time and where men are seen as martyrs and women as mothers. Chandra Mohanty added that imperialism, militarization, and globalization all traffic in women's bodies, women's labor, and ideologies of masculinity/femininity, heteronormativity, racism and ...

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