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Family Feuds: Gender, Nationalism and the Family1

Anne McClintock

all are invented,snd all aredangerousaregendered, All nationalisms butin sense as havingto be opposed, notin EricHobsbawm's dangerous, the sense of representingrelations to political power and to the of violence.Nationalism,as ErnestGellnernotes, invents technologies nations,despitetheir nationswherethey donot exist, andmostmodern appeal to an august and immemorialpast, are of recent invention warns,however,that Gellnertends Anderson (Gellner,1964).Benedict to assimilate 'invention'to 'falsity' rather than to 'imagining'and communiby contrast,views nationsas 'imagined Anderson, 'creation'. ties' in the sense that they are systems of cultural representation wherebypeoplecometo imaginea sharedexperienceof identification 1991:6). As such,nationsare (Anderson, with an extendedcommunity of the mind,but are historicaland instinot simply phantasmagoria tutional practices through which social differenceis invented and Nationalismbecomes,as a result, radicallyconstitutiveof performed. people'sidentities,throughsocialconteststhat are frequentlyviolent and always gendered.But if the inventednature of nationalismhas foundwide theoreticalcurrency,explorationsof the genderingof the paltry. havebeenconspicuously nationalimaginary of gender.Despite All nations dependon powerfulconstructions nationalisms'ideologicalinvestment in the idea of popular unity, nations have historicallyamountedto the sanctionedinstitutionalizNo nationin the worldgiveswomenandmen ationof genderdifference. the same accessto the rights andresourcesof the nation-state.Rather than expressingthe floweringinto time of the organicessence of a timeless people, nations are contestedsystems of culturalrepresentation that limit and legitimizepeoples'access to the resourcesof the nation-state.Yet with the notable exceptionof Frantz Fanon, male theorists have seldom felt moved to explore how nationalism is
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implicatedin gender power.As a result, as CynthiaEnloe remarks, nationalisms haveCtypically sprungfrommasculinized memory, masculinizedhumiliation andmasculinized hope'(Enloe,1989:44). GeorgeSantayana,for one, gives voiceto a well-established male view:COur nationalism is like ourrelationship to women: tooimplicated in our moral nature to be changed honourably,and too accidental to be worth changing'.Santayana'ssentence could not be said by a woman, for his Cour' of national agency is male, and his male citizen stands in the same symbolicrelationto the nation as a man standsto a woman.Not onlyare the needsof the nationhere identified with the frustrations and aspirations of men,but the representation of male national power depends on the prior constructionof gender difference. For Gellner,the very definitionof nationhood rests on the male recognition of identity:CMen are of the same nationif and only if they recognize eachotheras beingfromthe samenation.'(Gellner, 1964)For Etienne Balibar, such recognitionaligns itself inevitably with the notionof a Crace' structuredaboutthe transmissionof male powerand property: CUltimately the nationmust alignitself, spirituallyas well as physicallyor carnally,with the C4race", the C4patrimony" to be protected fromall degradation' (Balibar, 1991,myemphasis). EvenFanon,whoat othermomentsknew better,writes 'Thelookthat the native turns on the settlertownis a lookoflust . . . to sit at the settler'stable,to sleepin the settler's bed, with his wife if possible.The colonizedman is an enviousman'(Fanon,1963:30).ForFanon,bothcolonizer andcolonized arehereunthinkingly male,andthe manichaean agonofdecolonization is wagedoverthe territoriality of female,domesticspace. All too often in male nationalisms,gender differencebetween women and men serves to symbolicallydefine the limits of national differenceand power between men. Excludedfrom direct action as nationalcitizens,womenare subsumedsymbolically into the national bodypoliticas its boundary andmetaphoric limit:CSingapore girl,you're a great way to fly.' Womenare typically construedas the symbolic bearers of the nation, but are denied any direct relation to national agency.As EllekeBoehmernotes in her fine essay, the Cmotherland' of male nationalismmay thus Cnot signifbr C4home" and C4source" to women' (Boehmer, 1991:5). Boehmer notesthat the malerolein the nationalist scenariois typicallyCmetonymic', that is, men are contiguous with each other and with the nationalwhole.Women,by contrast,appearcina metaphoricor symbolic role' (Boehmer,1991:6). In an important intervention,Nira Yuval-Davisand Floya Anthias thus identify five major ways in which women have been implicatedin nationalism (Yuval-Davis andAnthias,1989:7): * as biological reproducers of the members of nationalcollectivities * as reproducers of the boundaries of nationalgroups(through restrictions on sexualormaritalrelations) * as activetransmittersandproducers of the nationalculture

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signifiersofnationaldifference as symbolic in nationalstruggles * as activeparticipants Nationalismis thus constitutedfromthe verybeginningas a gendered withouta theoryof genderpower. discourse,and cannotbe understood If male reveala doubledisavowal. Nonethe less, theoriesofnationalism to the genderingof nations,feminist theoristsare typicallyindifferent analyses of nationalismhave been lamentablyfew and far between. nationalism havebeen slowto recognize Whitefeminists,in particular, as a feminist issue. In much Western,socialist feminism,as Yuvalof ethnicityandnationalityhave Davis andAnthiaspointout, <[i]ssues tendedto be ignored.' A feminist theory of nationalismmight be strategicallyfourfold: investigating the gendered formationof sanctioned male theories; bringinginto historicalvisibilitywomen'sactive culturaland political bringingnationalistinstitutions in nationalformations; participation andinstitutions,while into criticalrelationwith othersocialstructures ofracial, attentionto the structures at the sametimepayingscrupulous ethnic and class power that continueto bedevil privilegedforms of
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The national family of man

A paradoxlies at the heart of most nationalnarratives.Nations are of familial and domestic frequentlyfiguredthroughthe iconography to be born.We speak of derivesfromCnatio': space.The term Cnation' countries Cadopt' Foreigners andCfatherlands'. nationsas Cmotherlands' into the national that are not their nativehomes,and are Cnaturalized' and Cnative' family.We talk of the Family of Nations, of Chomelands' lands. In Britain, immigrationmatters are dealt with at the Home in the United States, the Presidentand his wife are calledthe Office; First Family.WinnieMandelawas, until her recent fall from grace, of the Nation'.In this way, nations CMother as SouthAfrica's honoured Yet, at the sametime, figuredas domestiogenealogies. are symbolically itselfhas been family' sincethe midnineteenthcenturyin the West,Cthe figuredas the antithesisofhistory. in at least twoways.First,the family Thefamilytropeis important figure for sanctioning social hierarchywithin a offers a Cnatural' tropefor putativeorganicunityof interests.Second,it offersa Cnatural' historicaltime.After1859andthe adventof socialDarwinism, figuring the shapearound tookincreasing Britain'semergentnationalnarrative an offered Cfamily' The Man. of Family evolutionary of the image (and,one might figureby whichhierarchical metaphoric indispensable couldbe shapedintoa single socialdistinctions add,oftencontradictory) emerges.Thefamily Yet a curiousparadox historicalgenesisnarrative. as a metaphoroffereda single genesis narrativefor nationalhistory, while, at the same time, the familyas an institutionbecamevoidedof history.As the nineteenthcenturydrewon,the familyas an institution

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was figured as existing, by natural decree, beyond the commodity L. and market,beyondpolitics,and beyondhistoryproper.(Davidoff, both time, same the and one at became, thus Hall, C, 1987)The family antithesis. as its well as history, national for figure the organizing upper Saidhas pointedto a transitionin the late Victorian Edward to a cultureof relations) (familial middleclassfroma cultureof'filiation' relations).Said arguesthat a perceivedcrisis (non-familial 'affiliation' familytookon the aspectof a in the late Victorianupper-middle-class pervasive cultural affliction.The decay of filiation was, he argues, typicallyattendedby a secondmoment- the turn to a compensatory whichmightvariouslybe an institution,a vision,a orderof affiliation, credo,or a vocation.Whileretainingthe powerfuldistinctionbetween the linearthrust of Said's I wish to complicate filiationand affiliation, story.In the courseof the nineteenthcentury,the socialfunctionof the great servicefamilies (whichhad been invested in filiative rituals of onto the national becamedisplaced rankandsubordination) patrilineal onto projected was family ofthe image filiative So,too,the bureaucracy. form. naturalized shadowy, their as institutions affiliative emerging ratherit flourished Thus,I argue,the filiativeorderdid not disappear: reinventedwithin the new ordersof the after-image, as a metaphoric nation-state, the industrial bureaucracy,and imperial capitalism. filiationtookan imperialshape,as the culturalinvention Increasingly, bothonto the national FamilyofManwas projected ofthe evolutionary as its natural, legitimizing metropolisand the colonialbureaucracy shape. of the familytropewas twofold.First, the family The significance withina socialhierarchy figureforsanctioning an indispensable offered to woman of putativeorganicunityof interests.Sincethe subordination of social forms other fact, a natural man,andchildto adult,was deemed hierarchy could be depicted in familial terms to guarantee social of nature.Thefamilyimagewas thus drawnon as a category difference element of historical unity as an 'organic' within hierarchy to figure for legitimizingexclusion progress,and therebybecameindispensable suchas socialformations (affiliative) withinnon-familial andhierarchy nationalism,liberal individualismand imperialism.The metaphoric depictionof social hierarchyas natural and familial - the 'national family',the global'familyof nations',the colonyas a 'familyof black childrenruled over by a white father'- thus dependedon the prior of womenand childrenwithin naturalizingof the socialsubordination the domesticsphere. Secondly,the family offeredan indispensabletrope for figuring whatwas oftenviolent,historicalchangeas natural,organictime.Since the familyimageon into adults,projecting progress childrenCnaturally' enabledwhatwas oftenmurderously CProgress' to nationalandimperial of natural unfolding violentchangeto be legitimizedas the progressive couldbe figuredas an organic, intervention decree.Nationalorimperial progression that naturally contained hierarchy non-revolutionary withinunity:paternalfathersrulingbenignlyoverimmaturechildren.

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in one potenttrope,the idea of familythus captured, The evolutionary throughspace)and temporaldisconti(hierarchy sociald7scontinuity The idea continuity. acrosstime) as a natural,organic nuity(hierarchy and state give to capacity its in of the Familyof Manbecameinvaluable the alibiof nature. imperialintervention As Fanon eloquentlydescribesit in 'Algeriaunveiled',imperial rescuedrama.'Around tookshapeas a domestic frequently intervention the family life of the Algerian,the occupierpiled up a whole mass of withina circleof the Algerian judgements. . . thus attemptingtoconfine guilt? (Fanon, 1965:38). The dream of the 'total domesticationof Algeriansociety'came to haunt colonialauthority,and the domesticated,femalebodybecamethe terrainoverwhichthe militarycontest was fought. n mocern Europe, citizenship is the legal representationof a But ofthe nation-state. to the rightsandresources relationship person's becomes citizenship the putatively universalist concept of national unstable when seen from the position of women. In post-French directly into the RevolutionEurope,women were not incorporated throughmen, as dependent nation-stateas citizens,but onlyindirectly membersof the familyin privateand publiclaw. The CodeNapoleon was the firstmodernstatuteto decreethat the wife'snationalityshould follow her husband's,an example other Europeancountriesbriskly as a relationto the nationwas submerged A woman'spolitical followed. socialrelationto a man throughmarriage.For women,citizenshipin relationwithinthe family. the nationwas mediatedby the marriage
. .

The gendering of nation time

TomNairnin namingthe nation'the A numberof criticshave followed Nairn, the nation takes shape as a For 1977). (Nairn, modernJanus' gazingback into the primordial face one time: of figure contradictory mists of the past, the other into an infinite future. Deniz Kandiyoti expresses the temporal contradictionwith clarity: 4[Nationalism] presents itself both as a modernprojectthat melts and transforms of in favourofnewidentitiesand as a reflection attachments traditional authentic cultural values culled from the depths of a presumed NairnandAnderfollowing 1992).Bhabha, past'[Kandiyoti, communal like narratives,lose their originsin the myths of son, writes:sNations, time and only fully realize their horizonsin the mind'seye' (Bhabha, 1991:1). Bhabha and Andersonborrowhere on Walter Benjamin's a ForBenjamin, of modernity. paradox crucialinsightintothe temporal centralfeatureof nineteenthcenturyindustrialcapitalismwas the 'use of archaic images to identify what was historicallynew about the insight, 1989:67).In Benjamin's (Buck-Morss, of commodities' "nature" imagesof inventing dependson systematically of'Progress' the mapping time to identifywhat is historically'new'aboutenlightened, 'archaic' were, "antiquity" canthus ask:'Supposing Anderson nationalprogress.

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of "novelty?' consequence juncture,the necessary at a certainhistorical 1991:xiv). (Anderson, Whatis less oftennoticed,however,is that the temporalanomaly within nationalism- veeringbetweennostalgiafor the past, and the offofthe past- is typicallyresolvedby sloughing impatient,progressive divisionofgender.Womenare as a 'natural' figuringthe contradiction of nationaltradition representedas the atavisticand authentic'body' connationalism's and natural),embodying (inert, backward-looking, servative principle of continuity. Men, by contrast, represent the potentand (forward-thrusting, agentofnationalmodernity progressive prinor revolutionary progressive, nationalism's historic),embodying relationto timeis thus anomalous Nationalism's cipleof discontinuity. managedas a naturalrelationto gender. Johannes Fabian's important meditation on time and anthropology,IEmeand the Other(1983),shows how, followingDarwin,the time) (chronicle brokethe holdofbiblicalchronology socialevolutionists empirical, the of disposal the at it placing and by secularizingtime time).In orderto do this, Fabianpoints (chronological imperialproject out, 'they spatialized time'. With the publicationof The Origin of Species,CharlesDarwinbestowedon the developingglobalprojectof - secularTimeas the agentof a unified a decisivedimension empiricism on to the axis ofspace,and worldhistory.Theaxis of timewas projected historybecameglobal.Now not only naturalspace,but also historical scienceof on to a global,taxonomic andmapped time, couldbe collected history,especiallynationalandimperial Mostimportantly, the surface. of a spectacle. history,tookon the character The exemplaryfigurefor spatializingtime was the Family Tree. tookthe ancientimageofthe divine,cosmologiThe socialevolutionists cal Tree and secularizedit as a natural genealogyof global,imperial history. In the secularizedTree of Time, three principles emerge. Mappedagainst the global Tree, the world'sdiscontinuous'nations' appearto be marshalledwithin a single, hierarchicalEuropeanurnarrative. Second, history is imaged as naturally teleological, an organicprocessof upwardgrowth,with the Europeannation as the are rankedand discontinuities Third,inconvenient apogeeof progress. subordinatedinto a hierarchicalstructure of branchingtime - the differentialprogressof'racially'differentnations mappedagainst the tree's self-evidentboughs,with 'lessernations'destined,by nature,to perchon its lowerbranches. it was domesticated, was thus not onlysecularized, Time,however, a point Fabian, for one, does not address. Social evolutionismand gave to national politics a conceptof natural time as anthropology was 'progress' familial. In the image of the FamilyTree,evolutionary types,organized distinct'family' as a seriesof anatomically represented Violentnationalandimperialchangethus took into a linearprocession. rubricof underthe organizing of an evolvingspectacle, onthe character the family. The merging of the 'racial'evolutionaryTree and the 'gendered'Family into the Family Tree of Man providedscientific

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andracialimagethroughwhich gendered racismwith a simultaneously the idea of imperialProgress. it couldpopularize Britain'semergingnational narrativegenderedtime by figuring class)as inherentlyatavistic andthe working women(likethe colonized - the conservativerepositoryof the nationalarchaic.Women,it was argued, did not inhabit history proper,but existed, like colonized anteriortime withinthe modernnation,as peoples,in a permanently humans,childlike,irrationaland regressive- the living anachronistic men, by contrast, archiveof the nationalarchaic.White,middle-class agency of national 'prowere seen to embodythe forward-thrusting gress'.Thusthe figureofthenationalFamilyofManrevealsa persistent the invented domainof (conventionally, paradox.National 'Progress' male, public space) was figured as familial, while the family itself the domainof private,female space)was figuredas (conventionally, history.Withthese theoreticalremarksin mind,I wish now to beyond of relationbetweenthe inventedconstructions turn to the paradoxical familyandnation,as theyhavetakenshapewithinSouthAfricain both relations to the competing black and white women'scontradictory nationalgenealogies. Onecan safelysay, at this point,that thereis no singlenarrativeof the nation. Differentgenders,classes, ethnicitiesand generationsdo in the the myriadnationalformations not identifywith, or experience in ways andconsumed areinvented,performed sameway;nationalisms that do not follow a universal blueprint. At the very least, the dismissalof ThirdWorld of Hobsbawm's Eurocentricism breathtaking nationalismswarrantssustained criticism.In a gesture of sweeping 'original nominatesEuropeas nationalism's Hobsbawm condescension, are movementsof any significance' home',while 'all the anti-imperial dumpedinto three categories:mimicryof Europe, unceremoniously highspiritsofmartialtribes' andthe 'natural xenophobia, anti-Western of nationaldifference 1990:151).A feministinvestigation (Hobsbawm, might, by contrast,take into accountthe dynamicsocial and historic contexts of national struggles, their strategic mobilizingof popular forces, their myriad,varied trajectories,and their relation to other social institutions.We might do well to developa more theoretically complex,and strategicallysubtlegenealogy of nationalisms.In South Africa,certainly,the competingAfrikanerand Africannationalisms withvery different trajectories, havehadbothdistinctandoverlapping forwomen. consequences
Afrikaner nationalism and gender

colonyat Until the 1860s,Britainhad scantinterestin its unpromising (1867) of diamonds the southerntip of Africa.Onlyuponthe discovery andgold(1886)werethe UnionJackandthe redcoatsshippedout with any real sense of imperialmission.But very quickly,miningneeds for cheaplabourand a centralizedstate collidedwith traditionalfarming

Review 68 Feminist forcontrolover in the conflict interests,andout of these contradictions, Warof 1899-1902. the Anglo-Boer Africanlandandlabour,exploded of crisis.Aftertheirdefeatby was a doctrine nationalism Afrikaner remnantsof the scatteredBoercommunities the British,the bloodied if they were to survive in the had to forge a new counter-culture emergent capitalist state. From the outset, the invention of this Whenthe Boergenerals had a clearclass component. counter-culture in the Union of and the British capitalists swore blood-brotherhood 1910,the rag-taglegionof'poorwhites'with little or no prospects,the the small farmersand poorteachers, modestclerks and shopkeepers, in the new state, all precarious the intellectualsandpetitebourgeoisie, beganto identifythemselvesas the vanguardof a new Afrikanerdom, the chosen emissaries of the national volk (Moodie,1975; O'Meara, 1983). identity,no had no monolithic To beginwith, however,Afrikaners andno singleunifyinglanguage.Theywerea historicpurpose, common disunited,scatteredpeople,speakinga medleyof HighDutchandlocal dialects,with smatteringsof the slave,NguniandKhoisanlanguagesof house-servants, (kitchen-language) scorned as the 'kombuistaal' thereforehad, quite literally,to invent slaves and women.Afrikaners themselves. The new, invented communityof the volk requiredthe a popularpress and a consciouscreationof a single print-language, a required Atthe sametime,the inventionoftradition literatepopulace. to do the inventing.The class of culturalbrokersand image-makers of the early twentieth century,in the flurryof 'languagemovement' novels and countlessculturalevents, poems,magazines,newspapers, Boervernaculars the myriad fashioning just sucha movement, provided decadesofthe the early In Afrikaans language. a single identifiable into has brilliantlyshown,an elabortwentiethcentury,as IsabelHofmeyr was undertaken,as the despised'Hotnotate labourof'regeneration' language')was revampedand purgedof its rural, staal' ('Hottentot's associations,and elevated to the status of the august "degenerate" 1987:97). In 1918, 'mothertongue'of the Afrikaanspeople(Hofmeyr, as a language. was legallyrecognized Afrikaans traditionhad a clear At the same time, the inventionof Afrikaner men cliqueofAfrikaans In 1918,a small,clandestine gendercomponent. launcheda secret society, with the express mission of capturingthe loyalties of dispiritedAfrikanersand fosteringwhite male business swiftly burgeonedinto a secret, power.The tiny white brotherhood poweroverall aspects mafiathat cameto exertenormous country-wide The genderbias of O'Meara,1983). of Nationalistpolicy(Moodie,1975; as a whole,is neatly summedup in its the society,as of Afrikanerdom Henceforth,Afrikaner name: the Broederbond(the brotherhood). nationalismwould be synonymouswith white male interests, white male aspirationsand white male politics.Indeed,in a recent effortto is currentlydebating shore up its waning power, the Broederbond Afrikaansspeakingmen into the whetherto admitso-called'Coloured' continueto be barred. All womenwill, however, brotherhood.

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the historyofthe volk historiography, Afrikaner In the voluminous as an imperial figured narrative national male a is organizedaround in geographiforwards proceeds journey The lands. journeyinto empty as in racialandgendertime,to whatis figured cal space,butbackwards The a prehistoriczone of linguistic,racial and gender'degeneration'. land'the mythofthe 'virgin land'is simultaneously mythofthe 'empty is to be 'virgin' narrative, erasure.Withinthe colonial effectinga double to be emptyof desire,voidedof sexual agency,and passivelyawaiting the thrusting, male inseminationof Europeanmilitaryhistory, lanlandsalsoeffectsa colonial of'virgin' Thefeminizing guageand'reason'. cannotclaim forif the land is virgin,Africans appropriation, territorial aboriginalterritorialrights, and the white male patrimonycan be violentlyassured. At the heart of the continent, an historic agon is staged, as claimentitlementto the land.A divinely Africans'falsely' 'degenerate' the nationin a malebirthingritual, baptizes conflict military organized which grants to white men the patrimonyof land and history. The nation emerges as the progenyof male historythroughthe motorof military might. At the centre of this imperial gospel, stands the the motherofthe nation. figureofthe volksmoeder, contradictory is the GreatTrek, historiography Thecentralemblemof Afrikaans andeachtrek is figuredas a familypresidedoverby a single,epicmale of Afrikaansas a In 1938,two decadesafterthe recognition patriarch. language, an epic extravaganzaof inventedtraditionenflamedAfrikanerdominto a deliriumof nationalistpassion.Dubbedthe Tweede the the eventcelebrated Trek),ortheEeufees(Centenary), Trek(Second the and laws British from away 1838 in Trek Great mutinous first Boers' commemorated also Centenary The emancipation. effronteryof slave the Boer massacre of the Zulus at the Battle of Blood River. Nine wagons were built - the reinventionof the replicas of Voortrekker Eachwagonwas literallybaptized,and archaicto sanctionmodernity. hero.No wagonwas namedafter an namedafter a male Voortrekker adult woman.One was, however,called generically,Vrouen Moeder symbolized acrossthe country, Thiswagon,creaking (wifeandmother). relationto the nationas indirect,mediatedthroughher social woman's relationto men, her nationalidentitylying in her unpaidservicesand throughhusbandandfamily,to the uolk.Eachwagonbecame sacrifices, of colonial society at large: the whip-wieldingwhite the microcosm patriarchprancing on horseback,black servants toiling alongside, white motherand childrensequesteredin the wagon- the women's starchedwhite bonnetssignifyingthe purityof the race, the decorous andthe invisibilityofwhite oftheirsexualityto the patriarch, surrender femalelabour. The wagons rumbledalong differentroutes from Cape Town to Pretoria,sparkingalong the way an orgy of nationalpageantry,and spectacleof inventedtradition. engulfingthe countryin a four-month Alongthe way, white men grew beardsand white womendonnedthe ancestralbonnets.Huge crowdsgatheredto greet the wagons.As the

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Nation of theAfrikaans Markers as Boundary Women

trekkerspassed throughthe towns, babies were namedafter trekker Nota fewgirlswerebaptized heroes,as wereroadsandpublicbuildings. The Eeufesia(Centeneria). favourite: but popular with the improbable affair climaxedin Pretoriain a spectacularmarathon,with explicit scoutsbearing ledbythousandsofAfrikanerboy ThirdReichovertones, flaeming torches. The first point about the TweedeTrekis that it invented white nationalist traditions and celebratedunity where none had existed before,creatingthe illusionof a collectiveidentitythroughthe political The secondpointis that the Nationalists spectacle. stagingof vicarious adoptedthis ploy fromthe Nazis. The TweedeTrekwas inspirednot onlyby the Nazi creedof Blut undBoden,but a newpoliticalstyle:the politicsof fetish symbolandculturalpersuasion. Nuremberg In our time, I suggest, national collectivityis experiencedpreeminentlythroughspectacle.Here I departfromAnderson,who sees technologyof nationalismas emergingprimarilyfromthe Gutenberg neglectsthe factthat printcapitalhas, until Anderson printcapitalism. recently,been accessibleto a relativelysmall literate elite. One could arguethat the singularpowerof nationalismhas been its capacityto of the management unitythrough collective a senseofpopular, organize spectacle. mass nationalcommodity inhabitsthe realmoffetishism.Despite In this respect,nationalism

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Hegel)to the idea nationalism(following of European the commitment nationalism of rationalProgress, ofthe nation-stateas the embodiment and transmittedprimarilythroughfetishismhas been experienced denigratedas the preciselythe culturalformthat the Enlightenment antithesis of'Reason'.Moreoften than not, nationalismtakes shape flags,uniforms, offetishobjects: throughthe visible,ritualorganization airplanelogos,maps,anthems,nationalflowers,nationalcuisinesand of collectivefetish as well as throughthe organization architectures, spectacle- in team sports,militarydisplays,mass rallies, the myriad culture,andso on. Farfrombeingpurelysexualicons, formsof popular on to and fetishes embodycrises in social value, which are projected work remains to be Considerable embodiedin impassionedobjects.2 refuseornegotiatethe male doneonthe waysin whichwomenconsume, fetish ritualsof nationalspectacle. The EeuSeeswas, by anyone's standards, a triumph of image management,completewith the spectacularregalia of flags, flaming torches, patriotic songs, incendiaryspeeches, costumes and crowd revealedthe extent to Morethan anything,the EeuSees management. of performance inventedcommunity: which nationalismis a symbolic effortby the Broederself-conscious and the Eeafeeswas a calculated and class tensionsthat gender regional, myriad the over paper to bond threatenedthem. As a fetishistic displacementof difference,it succeededfamously,for the success of the TweedeTrekin mobilizinga sense of white Afrikanercollectivitywas a major reason, though certainlynot the only one, for the Nationalists'triumphantsweep to powerin 1948.3 nationalFromthe outset, as the Eeafeesborewitness, Afrikaner ism was dependent not only on powerful constructionsof racial A of genderdifference. but also on powerfulconstructions difference, of national creationprevailed,wherebymen were gendereddierision seen to embodythe politicaland economicagency of the volk, while womenwerethe (unpaid)keepersof traditionandthe volk'smoraland spiritualmission.Thisgendereddivisionof labouris summedup in the colonialgospelof the family,and the presidingiconof the volksmoeder is less a biological however, (themotherofthe nation).Thevolksmoeder, Nor is it an ideologyimposedwilly-nillyon fact than a socialcategory. hapless femalevictims.Rather,it is a changing,dynamicideologyrife underconstantcontestby men andwomen,and adapted with paradox, constantlyto the pressures arising from Africanresistance and the andBritishimperialists. colonialists betweenAfrikaner conflict
The invention of the volksmoeder: mum's the word

The Anglo-BoerWar (fundamentallya war over African land and labour)was in many respectswaged as a war on Boer women.In an the farmsandlands, effortto breakBoerresistance,the Britishtorched camps, intoconcentration andherdedthousandsofwomenandchildren

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where25,000 womenand childrenperishedof hunger,desolationand disease.Yet, afterthe Anglo-Boer War,the politicalpowerof the fierce Boer womenwas muted and transformed. In 1913, three years after Union, the Vrouemonument (Women'sMonument)was erected in homageto the femalevictimsofthe war.Themonument tookthe formof a circular, domesticenclosure,wherewomenstandweepingwith their children. Here, women'smartial role as fighters and farmers was purgedof its indecorously militantpotential,andreplaced by the figure of the lamentingmotherwith babein arms.Themonumentenshrined Afrikaner womanhood as neithermilitantnorpolitical, butas suffering, stoicalandself-sacrificial (Brink,1990).Women's disempowerment was figurednot as expressiveof the politicsof genderdifference, stemming fromcolonialwomen'sambiguous relationto imperialdomination, but as emblematic of national(that is, male)disempowerment. By portraying the Afrikaner nationsymbolically as a weepingwoman,the mighty male embarrassment of militarydefeat couldbe overlooked, and the memory of women's vital effortsduringthe warwashedawayin images of femininetears andmaternalloss. The icon of the volksmoeder is paradoxical. On the one hand, it recognizesthe powerof (white)motherhood; on the otherhand, it is a retrospective iconography of gendercontainment, containingwomen's mutinouspowerwithinan iconography of domesticservice.Definedas weepingvictims of Africanmenace,white women'sactivismis overlookedandtheirdisempowerment therebyratified. Indeed,in the early decadesof this century,as Hofmeyrshows, women played a crucialrole in the invention of Afrikanerdom. The familyhouseholdwas seen as the last bastionbeyondBritish control, and the culturalpowerof Afrikaner motherhood was mobilizedin the serviceof white nation-building. Afrikaanswas a languagefashioned veryprofoundly bywomen's labours, withinthe economy ofthe domestic household. 'Notfornothing' as Hofmeyr notes,'wasit calledthe "mother tongue". ' (1987) In Afrikaner nationalism,motherhood is a politicalconceptunder constant contest. It is importantto emphasizethis for two reasons. Erasing Afrikanerwomen'shistoricagency also erases their historic complicityin the annals of apartheid.White women were not the weeping bystanders of apartheid history, but active, if decidedly disempowered, participants in the inventionof Afrikaner identity.As such they were complicit in deploying the powerof motherhood in the exerciseand legitimation of white domination. Certainly, whitewomen werejealouslyandbrutallydeniedanyformalpoliticalpower,but were compensated bytheirlimitedauthority in the household. Clutching this small power, they became complicit in the racism that suffuses Afrikanernationalism.For this reason, black South Africanwomen have been justly suspiciousof any easy assumptionof a universal, essential sisterhood in suSering.Whitewomenare bothcolonizedand colonizers,ambiguouslyimplicatedin the history of Africandispossession.

NationandFamily 73 Gender and the ANC: 'No longer in a future heaven'

has roughlythe samehistoricvintageas Afrikaner nationalism African nationalism. Forged in the crucible of imperial thuggery, mining was,likeits nationalism African capitalismandrapidindustrialization, the enactreinvention, of conscious the product counterpart, Afrikaner ment of a new political collectivityby specificcultural and political werevery different,and agents. But its racialand gendercomponents Africannationalismwould describeits own distinct trajectoryacross the century. In 1910 the Union of South Africawas formed,uniting the four squabblingprovincesunder a single legislature.Yet at the 'national' not a singleblackSouthAfricanwas present.ForAfricans convention, the Union was an act of profoundbetrayal. A colourbar banished Africansfromskilledlabour,and the franchisewas deniedto all but a from on Bloemfontein men descended handful.Andso, in 1912,African all overSouthAfricato protesta Unionin whichno blackpersonhad a voice.At this gathering,the SouthAfricanNatives NationalCongress NationalCongress. was launched,soonto becomethe African nationalism,had a narrow At the outset, the ANC,like Afrikaner class base. Drawn from the tiny urban intelligentsia and petite teachersand its memberswere mostly mission-educated bourgeoisie, clerks, small businessmenand traders,the kind of men whomFanon describedas 'dusted over with colonial culture'.They were urban, in the full civicparticipation demanding andassimilationist, anti-tribal and radical change. great British Empire,rather than confrontation 1991). Theywerealso solidlymale(Lodge, For the first thirty years of the ANC, black women'srelation to their exclusion nationalism was structuredaround a contradiction: within the ANC contrastedwith their fromfull politicalmembership activism.As Frene Ginwala(1990)has argued, increasinggrass-roots women'sresistancewas shapedfrombelow.Whilethe languageof the was in ANCwas the inclusive languageof nationalunity,the Congress fact exclusive and hierarchical,ranked by an upper house of chiefs authoritythroughdescent),a traditionalpatriarchal (whichprotected (all male),and an executive(all lowerhouse of electedrepresentatives male). Indians and so-called 'coloureds'were excluded from full members', join as 'auxiliary Wivesofmalememberscould membership. as well as the powerto but were deniedformalpoliticalrepresentation, servicerole to nationalismwas summedup in vote. Theirsubordinate, the draft constitutionof the SANNC (later the ANC), which saw women'spoliticalrolewithinnationalismas mediatedby the marriage 'All wives'domesticroles within marriage: relation,and as replicating the wives of the members ... shall ipso facto become auxiliary members.... It shall be the duty of all auxiliarymembersto provide fordelegatesto the Congress.' suitableshelterandentertainment In 1913 the white state saw fit to imposepasses on womenin an effortto pre-empttheir migrationto the cities. In outragedresponse,

74 FeministReview

to flingback mutinouslyon Bloemfontein hundredsof womenmarched theirpasses,andfortheirtemeritymetthe fullbruntof state wrathin a insurgence Women's andhardlabour. of arrests,imprisonment barrage alarmedboth the state and not a few Africanmen. None the less, the climate of militancygave birth to the Bantu Women'sLeague of the AfricanNationalCongress,which was launchedin 1918, drawingby and large, but not solely, on the tiny, educated,Christianelite. Thus in Africannationalfromthe outset, women'sorganizedparticipation ism stemmed less from the invitation of men, than from their own politicizationin resisting the violence of state decree. At this time, however,women'spotentialmilitancywas muted, and their political by the lanFage of familial serviceand subordiagencydomesticated in so far as it servedthe volunteerworkwas approved nation.Women's political identity was women's and 'nation', the (male) of interests As PresidentSemesaid:'No andauxiliary. as merelysupportive figured nationalmovementcan be strongunless the womenvolunteerscome forward and offer their services to the nation.'4At women's own and votingrights insistence,the ANCgrantedwomenfull membership national in 1943.It had takenthirty-oneyears.Nonethe less, women's mission was still trivializedand domesticated,defined as providing or delegates.'5 formembers 'suitableshelterandentertainment After the Urban Areas Act of 1937, which severely curtailed women'smovements,new insistence began to be voiced for a more 'We militant and explicitly political national women'sorganization: or concernourselves womencan no longerremainin the background forwomento andsportsaffairs.Thetimehas arrived onlywith domestic theirmenin with shoulder to enterthe politicalfieldandstandshoulder In 1943,the ANCdecidedthat a Women's (Mpama,1937) the struggle.' calls for yet tensionswouldpersistbetweenwomen's Leaguebe formed, andmen'sanxietiesaboutlosingcontrol. greaterautonomy, Duringthe turbulentfifties, however,the ANC Women'sLeague the Freedom thrived.This was the decadeof the DefianceCampaign, Charter,the CongressAlliance,and the Federationof South African on Pretoriato oncemore In 1956thousandsof womenmarched Women. protest against passes for women, and the Women'sCharter was for workerbenefits and union formed,callingfor land redistribution, rights, housing and food subsidies, the abolition of child labour, universaleducation,the right to vote, and equal rights with men in and childcustody.It is seldomnoted,however,that marriage property, this charterprecededthe FreedomCharter,and inspiredmuch of its substance. Within African nationalism, as in its Afrikaans counterpart, in the presidingideologyof politicalagencyhas been couched women's WinnieMandelahas long been hailed as 'Motherof the motherhood. as 'Ma addressed the singer,is reverently Makeba, Nation',andMiriam however, is less the universal and biological Motherhood, Africa'.6 than it is a socialcategoryunderconstant of womanhood, quintessence transmutedand transformed contest.Africanwomenhave embraced,

NationandFamily 75

3rd Qual:er

A quaeerly


the ANC(St Wncen's Setion

the ideologyin a variety of ways, working strategicallywithin traditional ideology to justify untraditional public militancy. Unlike Afrikaans women, moreover,Africanwomen appealed to a racially inclusive image of motherhood in their campaignsto fashion a nonracial alliance with white women. A Federation of South African Women pamphlet of 1958 exhortedwhite women: CIn the name of humanity, can you as a woman,as a mother, Albertina Sisulu appealedimpatientlyto whitetolerate this?' In 1986 women:CA motheris a mother, blackorwhite.Standup andbe counted with other women.' Overthe decades,Africanwomen nationalists,unlike their Afrikaans counterparts,have transformedand infused motherhood with an increasingly insurrectionary the ideology of cast, identifying themselves more and more as the Cmothers of revolution'. Since the seventies, women'slocal rites of defiance national scale in rents and bus boycotts, have been mirroredon a organizedsquatter camps, strikes, anti-rapeprotests,and community actinsm of myriadkinds Even underthe State of Emergency, womenhave everywhere enlarged their militancy,insistingnot onlyon also on their rightof accessto the their rightto politicalagency,but technologies of nolence.7 Blackwomen's relationto nationalismhas thus undergone significant historical changes over the years. At the outset, women were


Feminist Review

deniedformalrepresentation, then theirvolunteerworkwas put at the service of the national revolution,still largely male. Gradually,as a result of women'sown insurrections, the need forwomen'sfull participation in the national liberationmovementwas granted, but their emancipation was still figuredas the handmaidenof national revolution.Onlyrecentlyhas women'sempowerment been recognized in its own right, distinct fromthe national,democratic and socialist revolution.Nonethe less, the degreeto whichthis rhetorical recognition will findpoliticalandinstitutionalformremainsto be seen. Feminism and nationalism For many decades,Africanwomenhave been loath to talk of women's emancipation outsidethe terms of the nationalliberationmovement.8 Duringthe sixties and seventies, black womenwere understandably waryof the middle-class feminismthat was sputteringfitfullyto life in the white universitiesand suburbs.Africanwomenraisedjustifiably scepticaleyebrowsat a white feminismthat vaunted itself as giving tongueto a universalsisterhood in suffering. At the sametime,women's position within the nationalist movementwas still precarious,and womencouldill affordto antagonizemen so embattled,and alreadyso reluctantto surrender whateverpatriarchal powerthey still enjoyed. In recent years, however, a transformedAfrican discourse on feminism has emerged,with black women demandingthe right to fashionthe terms of nationalistfeminismto meet their own needs and situations.9 On 2 May 1990,the NationalExecutiveof the ANCissued an historiccstatementon the Emancipation of Women', which forthrightlyproclaimed: CThe experience ofothersocietieshas shownthat the emancipation of womenis not a by-product of a strugglefordemocracy, nationalliberationor socialism.It has to be addressedwithinour own organization, the mass democratic movementand in the society as a whole.' The document is unprecedentedin placing South African women'sresistancein an internationalcontext,in grantingfeminism independent historicagency,andin declaring, intothe bargain,that all Claws, customs, traditions and practiceswhich discriminateagainst womenshallbe heldto be unconstitutional.' Ifthe ANCremainsfaithful to this document, nrtually all existingpractisesin SouthAfrica's legal, politicaland sociallife will be rendered unconstitutional. A few monthslater, on 17 June 1990, the leadershipof the ANC Women's Section,recentlyreturnedto SouthAfricafromexile,insisted on the strategicvalidity of the term 'feminism': CFeminism has been misinterpreted in mostthirdworldcountries. . . thereis nothingwrong with feminism. It is as progressiveor reactionaryas nationalism. Nationalismcan be reactionary or progressive. We have not got rid of the term nationalism.And with feminism it is the same.' Rather, feminismshouldbe tailoredto meet localneedsandconcerns. Yet very real uncertaintiesfor womenremain.So far, theoretical

NationandFamily 77

havenotrun genderimbalances andstrategicanalysesof SouthAfrica's to in particular, of how, rethinking deep.Therehas beenlittle strategic not are women and household, the within transformlabourrelations given the same political visibility as men. At a recent COSATU (Congressof South AfricanTrade Unions) convention,trade union in the unions,buttheir womencalledforattentionto sexualharassment demandwas brusquelyflickedaside by male unionistsas a decadent Lesbianandgay activists imperialistfeminism'. of Cbourgeois symptom have been similarly condemnedas supportinglifestyles that are no morethan invidiousimportsof empire. There is not only one feminism, nor is there one patriarchy. Feminism,like nationalism,is not transhistorical.Feminismis imperialistwhen it puts the interests and needs of privilegedwomenin womenand abovethe localneedsofdisempowered imperialistcountries womenof decade, last In the privilege. patriarchal from men,borrowing colourhave been vehementin challengingprivilegedfeministswhose article, racialand class powerseemsinvisibleto them.In an important ChandraTalpadeMohanty(Mohanty,1991) challengesthe appropriation of women of colour'sstruggles by white women, specifically as a singular, WorldWoman' throughthe use of the categoryCThird subject. victimized andparadigmatically monolithic, Denouncingall feminisms as imperialist,however,erases from resistanceto localandimperialist the longhistoriesofwomen's memory patriarchies.As Kumari Jayawardenanotes (Jayawardena,1986), Westernfeminism, mutiniesaroundthe worldpredated manywomen's if all feminists.Moreover, withoutanycontactwithWestern oroccurred real very a is there West, of the feminismsare deridedas a pathology the for hegemonic, remain will feminists white dangerthat Western, accessto privileged simplereasonthat suchwomenhavecomparatively andmoney.A gooddeal media,education the international publishing, to womenlivingundervery of this feminismmaywell be inappropriate are callingforthe rightto situations.Instead,womenof colour different of fashionfeminismto suit their ownworlds.Thesingularcontribution nationalist feminism has been its insistence on relating feminist movements. strugglesto otherliberation feminismas male nationalistshave condemned All too frequently, divisive,biddingwomenholdtheir tonguesuntil after the revolution. not its cause.To Yet feminismis a politicalresponseto genderconflict, whenit alreadyexists, is to cover insist on silenceaboutgenderconflict To ask womento over, and therebyratify,women'sdisempowerment. wait until after the revolution,serves merely as a strategic tactic to demands.Not onlydoesit concealthe factthat nationaldeferwomen's in genderpower,but,as the lessons isms arefromthe outsetconstituted of internationalhistory portend,women who are not empoweredto afterthe to organize duringthe strugglewill notbe empowered organize by an analysis of gender struggle.If nationalismis not transformed power,the nation-statewill remaina repositoryof male hopes, male aspirationsandmaleprivilege.

Review 78 Feminist

All too often,the doorsof traditionare slammedin women'sfaces. Yet traditionsare both the outcomeand the recordof past political contests, as well as the sites of present contest. In a nationalist to decidewhich bothwomenandmen shouldbe empowered revolution, traditions are outmoded,which should be transformed,and which Malenationalistsfrequentlyarguethat colonialshouldbe preserved. ism or capitalismhas been women'sruin, with patriarchymerely a nasty second cousin destined to wither away when the real villain finally expires. Yet nowhere has a national or socialist revolution broughta full feminist revolutionin its train. In many nationalistor socialist countrieswomen'sconcernsare at best paid lip service, at worstgreetedwith hilarity.If womenhave cometo domen'swork,men has feminismin its own work.Nowhere havenot cometo sharewomen's A to nationalism. right been allowedto be morethan the maidservant canthe iconogranationalism: crucialquestionremainsforprogressive phyof the familybe retainedas the figurefornationalunity,ormust an be developed? alternative,radicaliconography against the pitfalls of the warnings prescient Fanon's Frantz were never moreurgentthan now. For Fanon, nationalconsciousness nationalism gives ntal expressionto popularmemoryand is strategically essential for mobilizingthe national populace.At the same time, no one was more aware than Fanon of the attendant risks of projecting a fetishistic denial of difference on to a conveniently will'.In SouthAfrica,to borrowFanon'sphrase, abstractedCcollective Yetthe current longerin a futureheaven'. is Cno nationaltransformation especiallyforwomen,to the lines from situationgives soberpoignancy, The nationalwarof liberation, famousfilmonthe Algerian Pontecorvo's Battle of Algiers: 'It is difficultto start a revolution,more difficultto will sustain it. But it's later, whenwe'vewon,that the real difficulties begin.' Notes
Anne McClintockis an associate professor at Columbia University, where she teaches gender and cultural studies. She is currently researching nationalism and gender in South Africa on an SSRC-MacArthurInternational Peace and and ImperialSecurity Fellowship. Her book Maids,Mapsand Mines:Gender ism is coming out in 1993. 1 Parts of this paper appeared in 'No Longer in a Future Heaven', (1991) 10623. TRANSITION51, 2 I critique the Freudian/Lacaniantheory of fetishism in 'The return of female Spring 1992. I fetishism and the fiction of the phallus', in New Formations expand on the fetishistic nature of national spectacle in my book, Maids, (forthcoming,1993). andImperialism MapsandMines:Gender 3 Indeed, the degree to which the Eeufeespapered over fatal divisions within the white populace,became most manifest in 1988, when during the height of the State of Emergency, no less than two competing Treks set out to re-enact

NationandFamily 79 whitenationalist by twobitterlyrivalrous eachsponsored the re-enactment, parties. mobilization of grassroots notes:'Apatternhadbeenestablished 4 As Ginwala at the localor whiledealingwiththe authorities bywomen, andparticipation of men.'90: nationallevelwas to remainthe province 1919. 5 Constitution, ofthe 'Mother the ideology (1989)haveargued, 6 As GaitskellandUnterhalter ofthe respectsfromthe iconography ofthe Nation'differsin someimportant nationalism. in Afrikaner volksmoeder Day,the Women's of SouthAfrican 7 On9 August1985,the 29th anniversary to 'takeup armsagainstthe enemy. Sectioncalledonwomen Women's ANC's likepetrolbombs. weapons homemade Inthe pastwe haveusedrudimentary weapons.' Nowis the timethat we use modern 'It in 1985declared: onWomen Conference to the Nairobi 8 TheANCdelegation forus to adoptfeministideas.Ourenemyis the systemand wouldbe suicidal issues.' we cannotexhaustourenergiesonwomen's by the convened and NationalLiberation', 9 At a seminarentitled'Feminism from Womens Section of the ANC in Londonin 1989, a representative 'Howgoodit feels that exclaimed: (SouthAfricanYouthCongress) SAYCO ofthoughtin ourstruggles as a legitimateschool is finallyaccepted feminism ideology.' andis not seenas a foreign References Verso. London; Communities Imagined ANDERSON, B. (1983,1991) BALIBAR, E. and WALLERSTEIN, I (1991) Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous
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