‘Dangerous Liaisons’: Gender Politics in the Contemporary Scottish and Irish ImagiNation

Stefanie Lehner

in Scottish Literature and Postcolonial Literature

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780748637744
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652143 | DOI:
‘Dangerous Liaisons’: Gender Politics in the Contemporary Scottish and Irish ImagiNation

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Anne McClintock's postcolonial feminist point emphasises the intrinsically dangerous relationship between ‘gender’ and ‘nation’ in terms of constructions and practices of femininity and masculinity: a danger that has been largely overlooked in the body of work that could be identified as Scottish postcolonial criticism. The term ‘imagiNation’ draws on Benedict Anderson's understanding of the nation as an ‘imagined community’. The gendering of colonial discourse is designed to hold in place the norms of patriarchy by outlining a system of strictly regulated and rigidly differentiated gender roles. The period since the 1980s has witnessed in both Ireland and Scotland a growing insistence of female voices, addressing and exposing the silence and secrecies about issues of domestic violence, rape, incest and abuse, often committed within or condoned by patriarchal state institutions.

Keywords: gender politics; Anne McClintock; nation; imagiNation; Benedict Anderson; femininity; masculinity; Ireland; Scotland

Chapter.  6405 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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