Gendered Nationalism, Neo-Nomadism, and Ethnic-Based Exclusivity in Kyrgyz, Kazakh and Uzbek Nationalist Discourses
Keywords:Nationalism, Gender, Masculinity, Selectorate Theory, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan
Existing literature on gender and nationalism has postulated that nationalist narratives tend to convey patriarchal and restrictive views of gender roles, with women’s domesticity and subordination at the core of such interpretations. This paper tests this theory by looking at three examples of state-sponsored or state-produced communication in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, arguing that the simple existence of a regime’s nationalist ideological orientation is not per se sufficient to explain or anticipate the kind of gender narratives a regime will adopt. Instead, the paper calls for an analysis of internal political mechanisms and incentives in order to explain and anticipate the specific forms that discourses around gender will take in a given political environment. In order to do so, it tries to combine the rational choice-based “Selectorate Theory” (Bueno de Mesquita et al., 2003) with existing literature on nationalism and gender, to define a connection between political systems on the one hand and discourses on the other.