Reconnecting State and Kinship

By Tatjana Thelen; Erdmute Alber | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
Appropriate Kinship, legitimate nationhood
Shifting Registers of Gender and State

VICTORIA GODDARD

This chapter explores some of the tensions and possibilities that arise from historical and context-bound relationships between gendered politics and the state. Contradictions between different spheres of action and value are understood to produce and reproduce different forms of freedom and nonfreedom, exclusion and inclusion. The chapter draws on the example of the formation of the Argentine nation-state in the context of nineteenth century global capitalism, whereby increasingly circumscribed notions of appropriate kinship were associated with emergent parameters of legitimate nationhood, citizenship, and belonging. The process of nation building generated historically specific exclusions and invisibilities as effects of power relations and produced differentiated subjects, spanning “those who will be eligible for recognition and those who will not” (Butler 2010: 138), and thus also generated particular forms of silence and invisibility (Trouillot 1996).

While recognizing the processes of non-or mis-recognition associated with the emergence of modern nation-states, it is important to acknowledge those social actors who, by challenging dominant narratives, produced new spaces and new narratives that helped reverse such nonrecognitions and invisibilities and redefined the terms and relations that underpinned them. Different possibilities and tensions are explored in relation to claims against the state in what might be described as agonistic politics, where Antigone-like defiance entails an entanglement with and a profound criticism of the state’s dominant logic and exercise of power. In the examples explored in this chapter, the parallels with Antigone’s plight are especially salient where demands

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