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Gender and Nation

Gender and Nation

June 1997 | 168 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Exploring gender relations and the ways they affect and are affected by national projects and processes, Nira Yuval-Davis argues that the constructions of nationhood usually involve specific notions of both 'manhood' and 'womanhood', although their explicit inclusion in the analytical discourse around nations and nationalisms is only a very recent endeavor.

She promotes this analytical project by examining systematically the crucial contribution of gender relations into several major dimensions of nationalist projects, national reproduction, national culture, citizenship, and national conflicts and wars. She sharply differentiates national projects from 'nation-states' and she emphasizes that membership on 'nations' can be sub-, super-, and cross-states.

Gender and Nation is an important contribution to the debates on citizenship, gender, and nationhood. It will be essential reading for academics and students of women's studies, race and ethnic studies, migration, nationalism, sociology, and politics.

Theorizing Gender and Nation
Women and the Biological Reproduction of the Nation
Cultural Reproduction and Gender Relations
Citizenship and Difference
Gendered Militaries, Gendered Wars
Women, Ethnicity and Empowerment
Towards Transversal Politics


"I've been following Nira Yuval-Davis' work on issues of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and nation for some time. This is the book that we've all been waiting for. Gender and Nation spells out in clear and accessible prose the main ideas of a complex and vitally important area of feminist scholarship. For far too long, issues of nationhood, citizenship and the military have been viewed as male provinces. Turning this literature on its head, Yuval-Davis demonstrates that issues of gender remain central to nationalist struggles on both sides of state power. Especially refreshing is [the book's] ability to visualize a politics that takes these contested power relations into account.... a must read."

Patricia Hill Collins
University of Cincinnati

"Nira Yuval-Davis carries feminist strategy a bold step forward, avoiding essentialism, skirting relativism to develop a theory of 'transversal' alliances between women founded not on diverse identities but on shared values. In the process, she rewrites the theory of nationalism. A much-needed book."

Cynthia Cockburn
City University

"The question of gender has been systematically neglected in traditional political science. In Gender and Nation Nira Yuval-Davis shows how women reproduce nations biologically, culturally and symbolically. In criticizing the assumptions of the public/private split, her own argument is intensely personal and political. An extraordinarily powerful and comprehensive feminist account of the nation-state, it presents a far-reaching critique of the gender-blindness of political theory. Gender and Nation is a major contribution to the expanding field of citizenship studies. A significant intellectual achievement, it is not a text to be missed."

Bryan S. Turner
Deakin University

"In her eagerly awaited book, Nira Yuval-Davis draws us into an intense end-of-the-century feminist conversation. Yuval-Davis is the savvy and worldly thinker I trust to craft the question, sort out the answers - about the urgent matters of citizenship and nationalism."

Cynthia Enloe
Clark University

"Available texts on nationalism do not usually relate to women. Gender and Nation is a timely supplement to the literature.... Essential reading for students of women's studies, sociology and politics."

Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies

"A comprehensive treatment of key issues which relate to gender, nation and nationalism. It is an insightful and highly readable theoretical work which incorporates the most recent literature on these issues... a useful addition to either individual or combined courses on the topics of gender, nations and nationalism, race and ethnicity."

Sociological Research Online

"Yuval-Davis's main argument is that neither 'nation' nor 'gender' can be understood separately. She posits several ways in which women are targeted as ethnic subjects.... a necessary read."

Feminist Magazine

"Through this very thorough form of presentation, Yuval-Davis not only convinces the reader that the gender and nation inter-relationship is a crucial one, reinforcing the mutual constructions of each other, but she also manages to highlight the complexity of their shared bond. The book will be of great value to those working in the field of international relations theories as well as to all readers with an interest in gender studies."

Journal of Peace Research

"Yuval-Davis addresses both theory and practice starting out with a discussion of theorising about gender, women, ethnicity and nation, moving on to a more sustained analysis of how these discourses have impacted upon women. The analysis then widens as she looks at cultural reproduction and gender, citizenship, the military and war before ending up with a final discussion on women, ethnicity and empowerment.... This is an interesting, readable and thoughtful book and should be read by everyone interested in nations and ethnicities."

Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

"Cleary written with lively examples, Gender and Nation tackles nationalism in a way that is sensitive to gender, ethnicity and other forms of diversity. It is an important research reference and can be equally well used in graduate and undergraduate resources."

Canadian Journal of Political Science

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