Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Quote: Nation, Gender, Sexuality

The nation is comprised of sexed subjects whose "performativity" constructs not only their own gender identity but the identity of the entire nation as well. Through repetition of accepted norms and behaviors -- control over reproduction, militarism and heroism, and heterosexuality -- members help to construct the privileged nation; equally, the repetitive performance of these acts in the name of the nation helps to construct gender and sexuality. Moreover, because nation, gender and sexuality are all constructed in opposition, or at least in relation to, an(O)ther, they are all part of culturally constructed hierarchies, and all of them involve power. One nation, one gender and one particular sexuality is always favored by the social, political and cultural institutions which it helps to construct and which it benefits from -- and thus each seeks to occupy the most favored position in the hierarchy (of nation, gender and sexuality); each tries to achieve hegemony; and each in the process becomes a contested territory, even the arena of battle among nations, genders and sexualities.

-- Tamar Meyer (Gender Ironies of Nationalism, p. 5)

(Seems implicitly pessimistic about the possibility of constructing ways of organizing people's experiences and collective ways of being in the world in ways that don't require some sort of unitary hegemony of nation, gender, and sexuality, which seems to me the kind of goal that struggles for transformative social change should be trying to achieve, but important points about their intertwined character...)

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