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Lecture 2

Week 2 Soc 365 – Gender Relations.docx

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University of Toronto St. George

Week 2: Gender Politics and the state Soc 365 – Gender Relations July 10: Focus: Understanding the relationship between gender, nation, citizenship and the state Lynne Haney: Homeboys, Babies, Men in Suits: The State and the reproduction of Male Dominance  State entered feminist theory largely through socialist feminism  Feminist state theory to include the micro apparatuses of state power  Dynamics of two institutional gender regimes and the distinct patterns of control and contestation that characterize them  The state is not a uniform structure that acts to impose a singular set of gender expectations on women  Conceptualize the state as a network of differentiated institutions, layered with conflicting and competing messages about gender  Main contribution of this feminist tradition is its theorizing on the relationship between production and reproduction  Connection enabled socialist feminists to see the state’s role in mediating gender relations of power  State was necessarily more than an intermediary of class conflicts  Because these systems of oppression were interconnected, the state simultaneously served the needs of capitalism and of patriarchy  It protected capitalist relations of production while enforcing patriarchy, protected capitalist relations of production while enforcing patriarchal relations of reproduction  Socialist feminists made the case for the state’s enforcement of a patriarchal social order in 2 ways:  1. Their analyses of social policy, these scholars implicate the state in the oppression of women through its support of a specific household structure – the nuclear family, which relies on male wages and female domestic services  Theorists demonstrate how welfare policy separates the social world into public and private spheres and policies their border through a ‘traditional family ethic’  State encourages female dependence, by keeping welfare payments low or by forcing women to accept low-wage, unskilled jobs, the state coerces women to attach themselves to men and to nuclear family structures  State’s role in upholding ‘private’ patriarchy-individual women’s reliance on individual men  2. Socialist feminists implicate the state as instrumental in constituting a new form of patriarchy – ‘public’ patriarchy  Argued that men’s familial power has been passed over to the state  State no longer oppresses women indirectly by supporting the nuclear family, now done directly by securing women’s dependence on the state itself Week 2: Gender Politics and the state  Social welfare provisions are analyzed for their tendency to make women dependent on men as a collective embodied in the state  Approach is used in reference to ‘manless’ women for whom the state intervenes to ‘manage dependence’ – women who needs help to manage on dependance  State is institutionalized as male subjectivity. Gender bias systems. System’s patriarchal nature - system treats young girls very harshly  Hegemonic practices of other state bodies  Gender bias in the juvenile system, gendered norms transmitted to young women in this system  Enforce women’s place in a patriarchal society  Teaches women that passivity and dependence are positive gender attributes, thus preparing them for traditional positions in nuclear family structures  Girls are policed with hegemonic images of heterosexuality and taught to be subordinate partners in heterosexual relationship  Carols agenda was to break her girl’s dependency on men and to strengthen their self-esteem and their ties to female kin  Girls too depended on government welfare. Cycle of dependency  Alliance gave rise to its own set of gendered messages and norms. Not concerned about the girls’ dependency on men. They view that the girls are relying too heavily on government institutions  Alliance’s aim was to under girls dependency on institutions – to unlearn  Conceptualization of the state and its relation to women, differs in important ways from macro level feminist theories of the state  1. Moving to the level of state practice. Reveal how the state is a differentiated body composed of multiple institutional contexts. “Arm” of the state examined juvenile justice system is characterized by a dualism in which 2 distinct apparatuses operate 1. Coercive apparatus governed by punishment and force 2. Permissive apparatuses governed by discipline and rules  Opposes one another shifting feminist focus to state practice. Classic models for the state’s gender regime Nitza Berkovitch: Motherhood as a national mission: The construction of womanhood in the legal discourse in Israel  Paper looks at the notion of womanhood that emerged from the discourse around two laws passed in the first years of the State of Israel  1. Defense Service Law and 2. Women’s Equal Rights Law Week 2: Gender Politics and the state  Law is conceived of as producing the cultural meaning of ‘women’ as a social category and defining its relations to the state  Author argues the Jewish-Israel women is constructed as a mother and a wife and not as an individual or a citizen  Construction of a distinct category of women that emphasizes women’s difference takes place within an ideological context of the self-conscious myth of gender-equality  Motherhood is defined as a public role that carries national significance via the notion of ‘motherhood as a national mission’, women are incorporated into the state and not throug
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