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Gender, Populism and Collective Identity: a Feminist Analysis of the Maoist Movement in Nepal

Riley, Heidi; Ketola, Hanna; Yadav, Punam; (2022) Gender, Populism and Collective Identity: a Feminist Analysis of the Maoist Movement in Nepal. Journal of Human Security , 18 (2) pp. 35-46. 10.12924/johs2022.18020035. Green open access

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Abstract

This article examines the construction of gender agendas in left-wing populist movements that mobilise for armed struggle, by focusing on the case of the Maoist movement in Nepal. Feminist scholarship has highlighted how left-wing populism, when appealing to a generalized “people”, tend to produce homogenizing discourses that erase inequalities and difference, even when such movements integrate a gender dimension. Examining the trajectory of the Maoist movement over time, we argue that this ‘sameness’ may become contested and utilized by women participating in the lower echelons of the movement, as the political reality shifts from conflict to post-conflict context. As our main contribution, we develop a bi-directional approach that employs the concept of collective identity and allows us to examine the construction of populist agendas as a two-way interaction between the leadership of a movement and its grass roots supporters. Through this approach we show how the gender dimension was not merely a bi-product but central to both the construction of the Maoist movement’s war time ‘progressive’ identity, and the fragmentation of this identity and the movement’s populist appeal in the post-conflict context.

Type: Article
Title: Gender, Populism and Collective Identity: a Feminist Analysis of the Maoist Movement in Nepal
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.12924/johs2022.18020035
Publisher version: http://www.librelloph.com/journalofhumansecurity/a...
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2012 - 2022 by the authors; licensee Librello, Switzerland. This open access article was published under a Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: Conflict; Feminism; Ex-combatant; Gender; Identity; Nepal; Populism
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10156465
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