Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Reading Briefs: Kosovo and the Hegemonic Man

For those of you who don't know Kosovo is the newest country in the world. I wrote about it my blog post about Thanksgiving when I visited Kosovo for the first time. In her article Jamie Munn draws a connection between nationalism and the construction of a hegemonic male norm. Originally when I first embarked on this research project I held many of the same beliefs. I still do, but now I am interested in time when things are settling, the awkwardness of establishing a new identity. Back to what HAS been written. War is gendered. In order to have conflict you must live in a patriarchal society. In many ways women are constructed as the "mothers" of nations-icons of nationhood either to be "protected" (thus REQUIRING the intervention of violent forces-mostly male) or they are constructed as property-spoils of war or "the last frontier" to be conqured by the enemy. In feminist literature on conflict the construction-male as warrior women as mother of naiton and spoil of war-is rather teased out. Rape as a weapon of war, the increased control of womens fertility during periods of national conflict has been seen, documented, and anyalzed to some extent across the globe and throughout time.

The connection between masculinity and nationalism has also been discussed in written about by many feminist scholars. Here are some points I found most poignent in regards to my research. In this section Munn is relying heavily on J. Negal and her book"Race, Ethnicity and Sexuality: Intimate intersections, Forbidden Frontiers".

"It is important to remember that nationalism tends to be conservative and conservative often means patriarcahl-that sees masculinity and nationalism as organising and hegemonic. She continues to assert that this is partly due to the tendency of nationalists to be "retraditionalizers." They embrace tradition as a legitmating basis for cultural renewal and nation-building. These traditions, real or invented, are often patriarchal and focus on the nature of masculine privledge and the connection between nationalism and masculinity" (296)

"projects of state, power, citizenship, militarism, politicl violence, and nationalism are best understood as involving "masculine insitutions, masculine processes and masculine activities" (296)

"She (Enloe) notes that limited change that has resulted from the many nationalist independence movements around the world and observes that in many states it is "buisness as usual" with an indigenuous twist to masculinity, replacing the past at the sear of power" (300)

I think what is striking about these few quotes, and what I have read of Nagel, is this linking wanting to perserve the tradition-which along withit brings traditional gender roles and conceptions of masuclinity, thus intrinsically linking masculinity and nationalism. While I think in reality it is obviosuly much complex than that I see this desire to perserve tradition in the young men I have been interviewing. The percise tradition that people are trying to keep alive, however, is greatly variable and unstable- perhaps contributing to my sensation that gender norms here not necessarily more fluid than in the US, but very much unsettled. . .

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