Abortion politics are contentious and divisive in many parts of the world, but nowhere more so than in Ireland. Abortion and Nation examines the connection between abortion politics and hegemonic struggles over national identity and the nation-state in the Irish Republic. Situating the abortion question in the global context of human rights politics, as well as international social movements, Lisa Smyth analyses the formation and transformation of abortion politics in Ireland from the early 1980s to the present day. She considers whether or not the shifting connections between morality, rights and nationhood promise a new era of gender equality in the context of nation-state citizenship. The book provides a new sociological framework through which the significance of conflict over abortion and reproductive freedom is connected to conflict over national identity. It also offers a distinctive in-depth consideration of the connection between gender and nationhood, particularly in terms of its impact on women's status as citizens; within the nation-state; within the European Union; and as members of a global civil society.
Table of Contents
Contents: Abortion politics, the Nation-State and globalization; Abortion and reproductive freedom; The politics of authenticity: nationality, gender and Irishness; National entrepreneurs: a moral panic emerges; Abortion, official nationhood and gendered citizenship; The X case and the familial ’Pro-Life’ nation; The X case and the Republican Democratic Nation-State; Towards a Liberal Democratic political culture?; Conclusion: women in the Nation-State; Bibliography; Index.
Dr Lisa Smyth is from the School of Sociology and Social Policy at Queen's University Belfast, UK.
’This book is essential reading for anyone interested in abortion politics. It not only charts the extraordinary twists and turns in abortion politics in Ireland since the 1980s but also develops a sophisticated analysis of the links between women's reproductive rights and the construction of nations and national identities. The author argues convincingly that discourses of nationhood are sexualised and gendered. Not to be missed.’ Professor Nickie Charles, University of Warwick, UK ’In her thoughtful qualitative analysis of newspaper and parliamentary discourses, Smyth highlights the way abortion law is a symbolic political statement about national identity...[her] approach to gender and national identity lends itself well to replication across a variety of issues, from the moral panic over gay marriage in the US to headscarf debates in Europe.’ Contemporary Sociology ’Smyth’s dispassionate examination of...developments provides a model of clear thinking and writing...An important case study of the new politics of fetal rights...will provide an excellent resource for research, classroom, and political use.’ Population and Development Review 'Abortion and Nation analyzes the ways in which abortion politics have been framed and reframed in Ireland over the past two decades...this work makes a vluable contribution to the existing body of material on abortion in Ireland and will engage readers interested in abortion, politics, sociology or cultural studies.' Journal of the Association for research on Mothering