CONSTRUCTION OF MASCULINITY AND NATIONALISM: ROLE OF TEXTBOOKS By Dr. Madhu Kushwaha[1]

Abstract

Education has been of interest to the modern nation-states in order to control the discourses of citizenship, and nationality. For the creation of nationalist ideology organized schooling is one of the most favoured state agencies to carry forward the nationalist agenda. The problem is that most of the nationalist ideologies are rooted in patriarchal social systems and nationalism itself is a masculine project. The ideology of hegemonic nationalism is not complete without the ideology of hegemonic masculinity because the latter is about protecting ‘ones women’ whereas the former one about protecting the motherland.

Schooling is a complex process and textbooks are the most tangible and concrete aspect of school life.  Nationalist, masculine discourses get solidified in textbooks and provides site for interaction between ‘state’ and ‘future generation’.

The present research study (discourse analysis in social constructivist framework) of class VI textbooks found that nationalism and masculinity were presented as one and the same. Mostly ruling class, powerful and physically strong males without any trace of weakness were presented in the textbooks. In most of the textbooks, gendered discourse of nationalism foregrounded the protector (men) and that which had to be protected, i.e. the nation presented as mother/women. For this purpose heroes from national history has been selected and presented and sometimes metaphors were also used to construct the ideals of virile, sacrificing men. Textbooks provide very fertile grounds to inculcate hegemonic masculinity which is aggressive and superior to femininity but aggression was wrapped or disguised under the cover of patriotism and nationalistic demand. The study was financially supported by the South Asian Network to Address Masculinity, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Keywords: Masculinity, Nationalism, Textbooks.

[1] Associate Professor, Faculty of Education (K), Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, U.P. India

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