Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Women and National Identity
Sharon S. Oselin
Nations are built upon a shared language among its inhabitants, demarcated land boundaries, and citizenship. Historically, men primarily built and ran nations, and women were typically considered national symbols. This phenomenon ensured that women played minimal roles in the political and national arenas but were primarily relegated to domestic duties in the private sphere. A closer examination of the relationship between women and their nations reveals that all women were not categorized as national representatives because many were excluded based on race, class, and immigrant status. The numerous factors involved in the construction of women as bearers of nationhood include gender, racial, and class differences, and most recently, the impact of globalization. Historical analysis is used to explore these themes and focus predominantly on the construction of national identity for people of the United States, though this argument generally applies to women and nations across the world. This entry discusses ...