How this Affects Women

Dr Philip Holden, University Scholars Programme, National University of Singapore


The dichotomy of material versus spiritual is mapped onto an "ideologically far more powerful . . . dichotomy: that between outer and inner" (The Nation and Its Fragments 120). The material is external, nationalists argue, while the essential spirit lies within. The emerging nation should maintain "the spiritual distinctiveness of its culture" (120) while adjusting to the modern world's requirements. "If Europe had conquered the East materially in the world, it was excluded from the home, in which "the East was undominated, sovereign, master of its own fate" (121). Thus the ideological framework of nationalism draws upon "the identification of social roles by gender" in the home versus world binary (121). Women take on a primary function of maintaining this cultural essence, and thus bear the primary burden of not being Westernized which is not placed on men (126). Women can be educated, and indeed should be so, but also be respectable: they thus differentiate themselves from uneducated (an unrefined) previous generations, but also from Western women who move freely in the material world (127).

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Last Modified: 19 April, 2002