A Dry Branch on the Nation’s Body: The Nation’s Biological Reproduction between Gender and Sexuality - Treatises and Documents, Journal of Ethnic Studies

Issue 87

A Dry Branch on the Nation’s Body: The Nation’s Biological Reproduction between Gender and Sexuality

Author: Ksenija Šabec, Metka Mencin, Nina Perger

Keywords: nation-state, gender, sexuality, abortion, biomedically assisted reproduction, equality of intimate partnerships

Summary: The article proceeds from the thesis that discriminatory discourses in the field of gender and sexuality in Slovenia are based on ideas surrounding the nation’s biological reproduction and that increasing the fertility rate is crucial for the nation’s viability. The authors substantiate this thesis with Foucault’s biopolitical governmentality, Balibar’s concepts of nationalism and fictive ethnicity, and Yuval-Davis’ analysis of women’s roles in the construction of ethnic and national collectivities. The research question is how the assumption of the nation’s biological origin affects the understanding of the state and citizenship. We analyse political debates in Slovenia over a period of 30 years, focusing on those that expose any relation between gender and sexual norms and the understanding of the state as an ethnic rather than a civic category: the right to abortion, biomedically assisted reproduction, and the legal equality of intimate partnerships.