The purpose of this chapter is to outline some of the main dimensions in which gender relations are crucial in understanding and analysing the phenomena of nations and of nationalism. Most of the hegemonic theorizations about nations and nationalism (e.g. Gellner 1983; Hobsbawm 1990; Kedourie 1993 (1960); Smith 1986, 1995), even including, sometimes, those written by women (e.g. Greenfeld 1992), have ignored gender relations as irrelevant. This is most remarkable because a major school of nationalism scholars, the ‘primordialists’ (Geertz 1963; Shils 1957; Van der Berghe 1979), have seen in nations a natural and universal phenomenon which is an ‘automatic’ extension of kinship relations. And yet, when discussing issues of national ‘production’ or ‘reproduction’, the literature on nationalism does not usually relate to women. Instead, it relates to state bureaucrats or intellectuals. Materialist analyses, such as those by Amin (1978) and Zubaida (1989), have given primary importance to state bureaucracy and other state apparatuses in establishing and reproducing national (as well as ethnic) ideologies and boundaries. Although national and ethnic divisions also operate within the civil society, it is the differential access of different collectivities to the state which dictates the nature of the hegemonic national ethos in the society. Other theorists of nationalism and the sociology of knowledge, such as Smith (1986) and Gellner (1983), have stressed the particular importance intellectuals have had in the creation and reproduction of nationalist ideologies, especially those of oppressed collectivities. Being excluded from the hegemonic intelligentsia and from open access to the state apparatus, these intellectuals ‘rediscover’ ‘collective memories’, transform popular oral traditions and languages into written ones, and portray a ‘national golden age’ in the far-mythical or historical-past, whose reconstitution becomes the basis for nationalist aspirations. However, it is women-and not Gust?) the bureaucracy and intelligentsia who reproduce nations-biologically, culturally and symbolically. Why, then, are women usually ‘hidden’ in the various theorizations of the nationalist phenomena? The classical theories of ‘the social contract’ which are widely influential and have laid the foundation for common sense understanding of western social and political order have been examined by Carol Pateman (1988). These theories divide the sphere of civil society into the public and private domains. Women (and the family) are located in the private domain, which is not seen as politically relevant. Pateman and other feminists have challenged the validity of this model and the public/private divide even within its own assumptions, and claim that the public realm cannot be fully understood in the absence of the private sphere, and, similarly, the meaning of the original contract is
misinterpreted without both mutually dependent halves of the story. Civil freedom depends on patriarchal right (Pateman 1988:4). As nationalism and nations have usually been discussed as part of the public political sphere, the exclusion of women from that arena has affected their exclusion from that discourse as well. Following Pateman, Rebecca Grant (1991) has an interesting explanation of why women were located outside the relevant political domain. She claims that the foundation theories of both Hobbes and Rousseau portray the transition from the imagined state of nature into orderly society exclusively on what they both assume to be natural male characteristics-the aggressive nature of men in Hobbes, and the capacity for reason in men in Rousseau. Women, as women, are not part of this process and are therefore excluded from the ‘social’ and remain close to ‘nature’. Later theories followed these assumptions as given. A welcome exception in this respect has been the work of George L. Mosse (1985; see also the discussion in the introduction to Parker et al. 1992). He linked the rise of bourgeois family morality to the rise of nationalism in Europe at the end of the eighteenth century. In a sense Mosse follows the anthropological tradition of Lévi-Strauss (1968) which has been more aware of the central links between gender relations and social cohesion. Lévi-Strauss has seen the exchange of women as the original mechanism for creating social solidarity among men of different kinship units as the basis for constructing larger collectivities. It is not the exchange of women but their control (or subordination, to use Pateman’s terminology) which is so often at the base of the social order-both in terms of power relations within and outside the family and in terms of property relations and the paternal genealogy of children (Yuval-Davis 1980). Nevertheless, it would have been greatly beneficial for political theory to have been more open to anthropological literature rather than continuing to count, even unintentionally, on ‘man’s pre-contractual natural state’ which has never been more than a convenient fiction. My general approach to the phenomena of nations and nationalism has been elaborated elsewhere (Anthias and Yuval-Davis 1992; Yuval-Davis 1987b; but especially in YuvalDavis 1997). Basically, as both Smith (1986) and Zubaida (1989) would agree (in spite of the debate between them about cause and effect) there is an inherent connection between the ethnic and national projects. While it is important to look at the historical specificity of the construction of collectivities, there is no inherent difference (although sometimes there is a difference in scale) between ethnic and national collectivities: they are both the Andersonian ‘imagined communities’ (Anderson 1983). Focusing on the myth of common ethnic origins of nations, however, is insufficient to explain the nationalist phenomenon and what Kitching (1985) has called the ‘nationalist passion’. A vital complementary element is the myth of ‘common destiny’ which was theorized by Otto Bauer (1940; see also Nimni 1991; Yuval-Davis 1987). People construct themselves as members of national collectivities not just because they, and their forefathers (and mothers) have shared a past, but also because they believe their futures are interdependent. It can explain the subjective sense of commitment of people into collectivities and nations, such as in settler societies or in post-colonial states, in which there is no shared myth of common origin (Stasiulis and Yuval-Davis 1995) and can also explain individual and communal assimilations in other nations. At the same time it can also explain the dynamic nature of any national collectivity and the perpetual processes of reconstruction of boundaries which take place in them, via immigration, naturalization, conversion and other similar social and political processes (Bhabha 1990).
While this process of continuous reconstruction of boundaries usually takes place, it is important not to see nationalism as an inherently inclusive endeavour. Although not all nationalist ideologies are equally racist, processes of exclusion and inclusion are in operation wherever a delineation of boundaries takes place-as is the case with every ethnic and national collectivity-and many, if not most, include some elements of racist exclusions in their symbolic orders. The specificity of the nationalist project and discourse is the claim for a separate political representation for the collectivity. This often-but not always-takes the form of a claim for a separate state. The base of this claim, however, can vary in the different historical cases. There have been many attempts to classify different types of nationalist projects, on both moral and on sociological grounds (Smith 1971; Snyder 1968). However, attempting to classify all different states and societies according to any abstract category is an ahistorical, impossible and misleading mission. Instead of attempting to ‘fit’ concrete historical cases into ideal-type categories of such typologies, they can be used to signify different dimensions of nationalist ideologies and projects, which would play more or less central roles in different concrete historical cases, and be promoted by different members of the same national collectivities at any given time. The dimensions I am using for this purpose have been constructed by a combination of Anthony Smith’s influential typology (1971, 1986) which differentiates between the ‘ethnic-genealogical’ nationalist movement and the ‘civic-territorial’ one, and the German typology (Stolke 1987) which differentiates between Staatnation (civic nationalism) and Kulturnation (cultural nationalism). The combination is necessary, as culture and origin should not be conflated when discussing nationalist projects. I shall differentiate, therefore, between the dimensions of Staatnation, Kulturnation and Volknation: in other words, between nationalist ideologies which focus on citizenship of specific states (in specific territories); those which focus on specific cultures (or religions); and those which are constructed around the specific origin of the people (or their ‘race’). Different aspects of gender relations play an important role in each of these dimensions of nationalist projects and are crucial for any valid theorization of them. I shall present each of them separately, and mention some of the main issues that have to be looked at in this context.