Gendered Encounters with the State: An Analytical Proposal

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:30
Oral Presentation
Edna LOMSKY-FEDER, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Orna SASSON-LEVY, Department of Sociology and Anthroplogy Bar Ilan University, Israel
This paper argues that by analyzing women’s experiences of military service we can rearticulate the meaning of gendered citizenship as a lived experience that occurs in the “contact zones” between the citizen and the state’s institutions. Based on interviews with 120 Israeli women soldiers, we propose three key concepts that analyze the meaning of gendered encounters with the state: 1) 'Multi-Layered Contracts' (civic, intersectional group, and individual), which contain both formal and non-formal aspects in regulating the relations with the state; 2) 'Contrasting Gendered Experiences' signifies the various experiences of doing and undoing gender in diverse military roles from the perspective of body, sexuality, and emotion management, which affect women's gender consciousness and their critical-political voice; and 3) 'Dis/Acknowledging Violence', which discusses how the women soldiers understand and react to the military’s violence in war and occupation and in terms of sexual harassment. These three concepts expose the concrete meaning of women’s participatory citizenship. Reading the women’s narratives through the lens of these three concepts, we argue that women’s mandatory military service at such a formative age, during an active ongoing violent conflict, becomes an initiation process into gendered citizenship, where the women discover their marginality vis-à-vis the state.