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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Nationalism, Feminism and Autonomy: The ANC in Exile and the Question of Women
Author:Hassim, Shireen
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:national liberation movements
African National Congress (South Africa)
Women's Issues
Politics and Government
Equality and Liberation
Sex Roles
Abstract:There is a strong feminist scholarship that examines the fraught relationship between feminism and nationalism. The African National Congress (ANC) stands out as a nationalist movement that has gone further than most in transcending the tendency of nationalist organizations to reinforce women's status as secondary political subjects. Yet there has been little analytical attention to how the ANC operates as a political organization. This article addresses this issue from the perspective of the ANC in exile and women active within it. Drawing on archival research and interviews, the article pays close attention to the workings of the ANC as a political organization. It excavates the debates on feminism and autonomy within the ANC, and seeks to understand how feminist demands impacted on processes of organizational democratization. The article identifies three categories of influence on the increasing assertion of women's interests within the ANC. The first relates to internal organizational experiences, and the second to the theoretical debates that flowed from attempts to find a role for women in national liberation. The third influence was ANC women's exposure to, and interaction with, international feminist debates and with women's organizations in postindependence African countries. These influences not only helped re-shape the ANC as a political organization but also the nature of democracy instituted after the collapse of the apartheid system. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]