Economics at your fingertips  

Contesting Bodies in the Constitutional Debate About Citizenship in Nepal

Kumud Rana
Additional contact information
Kumud Rana: University of Glasgow

Chapter Chapter 5 in Bodies in Resistance, 2017, pp 95-115 from Palgrave Macmillan

Abstract: Abstract The idea of citizens as rights-bearing bodies continues to be an important political tool for women through which to claim space as legitimate actors who have the right to equality under the law. However, in this process of seeking legitimacy from the state, women’s bodies continue to be entangled between the normalizing and essentializing forces of nationalism which positions them as second-class citizens. Taking the case of a constitutional debate over the right of Nepali mothers to pass on citizenship to their children irrespective of the nationality of the father, this chapter explores how the female body continues to be normalised as a mere biological reproducer of the nation, without equal rights as citizens of that nation. More importantly, the chapter further shows how women’s resistance to such discrimination might rely on the same masculine and exclusionary interpretations of nationalism. The chapter draws from in-depth interviews with key constituent assembly members writing a new constitution for Nepal after the dissolution of monarchy in 2008. The chapter argues how a neoliberal understanding of citizenship goes hand in hand with the neoliberal interpretation of women’s empowerment, which often overlooks the importance of how intersections of different identities affect the lived experiences of different groups of women. In the case of Nepal, this interpretation of citizenship has overlooked intersecting discriminations based on caste, ethnicity and sexual orientation, thus homogenizing the category of “Nepali women” and dictating what a unified agenda for the Nepali women’s movement ought to be. While it is true that the embodied experience of the female body often becomes an entry point for women’s political engagement, the chapter highlights the limitations this might pose. It shows how bodies are often inscribed by dominant political and sociocultural structures in such a way that within the biopolitics of national sovereignty, some (female) bodies might matter more than others

Keywords: Single Mother; National Sovereignty; Naturalize Citizenship; Equal Citizenship; Woman Leader (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

There are no downloads for this item, see the EconPapers FAQ for hints about obtaining it.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This item can be ordered from

DOI: 10.1057/978-1-137-47780-4_5

Access Statistics for this chapter

More chapters in Gender, Development and Social Change from Palgrave Macmillan
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sonal Shukla () and Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing ().

Page updated 2022-07-02
Handle: RePEc:pal:gdechp:978-1-137-47780-4_5