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Lecture 10

Lecture 10: Race, Gender, and Nation

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Vanina Sztainbok

SOCB53 – Lecture 10 (Mar.19) Race, Gender and Nation: Key Question  How are national identities connected to race?  What does it mean to say that national boundaries are made through race and gender?  What is the peril of “pure identities”? National Identity  National identity is constituted through discourses, institutions, and practices. o Nation is a social construct, people do not just naturally belong to an area.  Constitute an ideal citizen who is embodied (race, class, gender) o The idea of who is the citizen that belongs in the state. The norm. Abstract ideals. o Scholars find this problematic.  A story we tell ourselves about ourselves. Nation as Imagined  Benedict Anderson o The nation is “imagined” through  Newspapers  Became a major way of linking diverse geographical areas together.  Literature o Basically he was arguing that a national identity isn’t just about geography, it involves other non-political actors  Other scholars add that it is constituted through social practices. o National anthem o Flags, monuments, sporting events. o Stories of origin o Work to build an emotional attachment to the land. o Everyday people can participate in it, the media isn’t just telling us what our nation is. o Could call it “nation building” Canadian Examples:  Beavers, Polar Bears  Hockey  “We’re nice, and multicultural” Race, Ethnicity and Nation  “the concept of the nation relies on the imagining of a “fictive ethnicity” because no modern nation possesses a given “ethnic” basis, even when it arises out of a national independence struggle” – Étienne Balibar o Nation constituted through  “fictive ethnicity”  common language  Only do to the fact that other groups had to be stomped out for the national language to become the most common. Race/Ethnicity, Gender, and Nation – Interlocking Systems  Two of the ways that women constitute the nation/ethnicity: o As participating centrally in the ideological reproduction of the collectivity and as transmitters of its culture  Women are seen as the primary transmitters of culture. On a daily basis educating the children about customs, and values. o As signifiers of ethnic/national differences- as a focus and symbol in ideological discourses used in the construction, reproduction, and transformation of ethnic/national categories  Women signify difference  Examples:  The idea of the veiled woman signifies Islam, etc. The category of women is used to signify difference. Perils of “Pure” Identities  “When national and ethnic identities are represented and projected as pure, exposure to difference threatens them with dilution and compromises their prizes puriies with the ever present possibility of contamination. Crossing as mixture and movement must be guarded against” – Paul Gilroy o Example: The Jews in Germany during WWII o Example: France feeling threatened from the growing Muslim populations in “their” country. o Example: Lynching in the USA. Happened because a black man/boy looked at a white woman/girl. Seen as posing a threat to the nation. I
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