American University
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Gender, *state and citizenship in Nepal

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posted on 2023-08-04, 14:39 authored by Seira Tamang

This dissertation explores the relationship between citizenship and gender in Nepal. Using a historical material approach, the process of state formation in Nepal and the political, economic and social ramifications that Nepal's status of "non-postcoloniality" has for the structuring of state and society relations is traced. Revealing the manner in which it has been elite, Hindu men who have historically held state power, discourse analysis is used to focus on their constructions of "the Nepali woman" during the period of Panchayat rule in Nepal (1961--1990) and the implications this has for the formation of citizenship in Nepal. More specifically, amendments in law pertaining to women and the family are shown to result in a transformation from "family patriarchy" to "state patriarchy." It is argued that such legal changes facilitated direct state interventions into women's lives in order to shape them according to needs of the Nepali state and nation as imagined by male, Hindu, state elites. By analyzing development training strategies and family planning policies, it is argued that the homogenization of identities and the construction of the feminine, domestic, "Nepali woman," was concomitant with, and dependent on, the active de-politicization of women in Nepal. Thus it is shown that it is the passive "subject" and not the active "citizen" which is being created in Nepal. Furthermore, this dissertation makes clear the importance of not only understanding the class and ethnic dimensions of the construction of citizenship. It reveals the manner in which gender informs citizenship and citizenship informs gender. In other words, it is argued that without an understanding of the gendered dynamics of citizenship, the full implications of citizenship cannot be understood. In conclusion, this dissertation shows that the concept of citizenship is not only inherently gendered, but in the juncture of global initiatives of the project of development and the national imperatives of nation-building and bikas---development as it plays itself out in Nepal---citizenship in the context of Third World countries in the late capitalist period holds much more ambiguous and contradictory implications.







Ph.D. American University 2000.


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