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Of Property and Propriety

Of Property and Propriety: The Role of Gender and Class in Imperialism and Nationalism

Himani Bannerji
Shahrzad Mojab
Judith Whitehead
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  • Book Info
    Of Property and Propriety
    Book Description:

    This collection of essays examines property relations, moral regulations pertaining to gender, and nationalism in India, Kurdistan, Ireland, and Finland.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7800-2
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Contributors
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-33)

    The abundant literature on nationalism and gender prompts us to contemplate how national identities and dominant forms of moral regulation associated with national cultures have been mediated by gender identities.¹ In our view, the relationships between gender, nationalism, and moral regulation have been inadequately analysed. Much of the existing literature on gender and nationalism has been written from a post-structural and post-colonial perspective in which all social relations are erased and nationalism is viewed solely as a cultural contest between Self and Other, colonizing and colonized cultures (Whitehead 1999:128-42). This literature has therefore failed to consider a matrix of underlying...

  6. Pygmalion Nation: Towards a Critique of Subaltern Studies and the ʹResolution of the Womenʹs Questionʹ
    (pp. 34-84)

    Any discussion of nationalism in countries that were colonized by European powers must begin with the problem of decolonization and how it has been politically addressed.¹ In this regard we may speak broadly of three major ways in which the politics of decolonization has been undertaken, all of which have an element of nationalism, insofar as they seek to achieve a sovereign state within some social and cultural definition of a nation. But in spite of these common elements, we can still speak of multiple nationalisms, as does Aijaz Ahmad in hisLineages of the Present. Refusing a single ideological...

  7. Contesting Positions in Nationalist Ideologies in Pre-Independence Ireland
    (pp. 85-115)

    The history of Ireland since the Norman invasion of 1169 is a history of colonization culminating in the Act of Union in 1800 which created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. From the late eighteenth century until Partition in 1921, and the creation of two autonomous parliaments - one in Dublin and one in Belfast - nationalist struggles were waged.¹ Initially these struggles were spearheaded by Protestant leaders but, following the Act of Union, nationalism in Ireland became increasingly identified with Catholics. Throughout the nineteenth and into the twentieth century the major constitutional struggle of the Irish Parliamentary...

  8. Conflicting Loyalties: Nationalism and Gender Relations in Kurdistan
    (pp. 116-152)

    This chapter examines the conflict and coexistence between nationalism and feminism, and critiques theoretical positions that reduce this complex relationship to one of harmony. While the trend of conflict is growing worldwide, some theorists try to resolve it by feminizing nationalism and constructing ′feminist nationalisms′ (West 1997). I will argue that these theorizations overlook both the political limitations of nationalism and the serious constraints that class and social and economic formations impose on the emancipatory projects of feminism. The chapter begins with a survey of the relationship between feminism and nationalism in Kurdistan, the homeland of one of the most...

  9. Measuring Womenʹs Value: Continuity and Change in the Regulation of Prostitution in Madras Presidency, 1860-1947
    (pp. 153-181)

    Devadiyars, ordevadasis, were female dancers who were symbolically married to deities in South India and served at the temples. Recent post-colonial studies of thedevadasitradition have explained its demise in the last century as the result of Victorian repression emanating from the colonial state and missionary education. Kay Jordan has explained the criminalization of thedevadasisin Madras Presidency as due to a growing sense of shame imparted by Western colonial education and missionary activities towards indigenous traditions among middleclass Indians. Despite the fact that the laws criminalizing thedevadasiinstitution were proposed by Indian social reformers in...

  10. Gender and Ethnic Overlap/p in the Finnish Kalevala
    (pp. 182-222)

    Ever since scholars began collecting folklore in Finland in the nineteenth century, it has been used to construct a strong feeling of national identity for ′Finns,′ and to instil in all classes a pride in their ′own′ culture. InFolklore and Nationalism in Modern Finland, William A. Wilson remarks that the Finns′ reliance on folklore for self-definition went even further. Folklore was used not only to explain the Finns′ difference from, but sometimes their superiority to, other cultures. Indeed, Wilson elaborates how folklore, as the cultural property of the Finns, was central to popular political discourse on the boundaries -...

  11. Wifehood, Widowhood, and Adultery: Female Sexuality, Surveillance, and the State in Eighteenth-Century Maharastra
    (pp. 223-246)

    This chapter explores the relationship between patriarchy, caste, and the state in the context of eighteenth-century Maharastra. The impulse to embark upon such an exploration is twofold: (1) to draw attention to the complex of factors by which a specific set of cultural practices with respect to gender codes is upheld, reinforced, and reproduced not merely by particular communities but by the state; and (2) to draw attention to both the state and other social institutions of the precolonial period, mainly because recent trends in social science analysis in India have tended to valorize ′indigenous′ society in a variety of...