Imagined Women: Bearing, Rearing, and Wearing the Tajik Nation

In: Central Asian Affairs
Shahnoza Nozimova Postdoctoral Researcher, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University Fairfax, Virginia USA

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In contemporary Tajikistan, the onus of national identity’s (re-)production has been disproportionately placed on women. Decisions about female bodies, dress, duties, and the limits of women’s roles in the public and private spaces serve as important differentiating markers and mobilization tools for the competing ideological forces. Using the insights from the scholarship on nation-building and gender, this paper explores the official (government’s) narrative on women in Tajikistan. Based on content analysis of various primary data sources, including official documents, government publications, official speeches, and media sources, I argue that contemporary nation-building has become about tangible lifestyles. Thus, nationhood in Tajikistan has acquired a recognizably gendered character. In this state-promoted imagination, women encapsulate the Tajik nation by performing three significant tasks that continuously reproduce and represent the nation: they bear, rear, and wear the Tajik nation-state.

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