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Mothers of the Nation: Women, Families, and Nationalism in Twentieth-Century Europe

Mothers of the Nation: Women, Families, and Nationalism in Twentieth-Century Europe (Hardback)

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How do nationalist governments cope with gender relations? Do their policies modernize, or entrench pre-modern gender roles? In Mothers of the Nation, Patrizia Albanese addresses these questions by assessing the impact of nationalist regimes on the status of women and families in Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, and Russia, at two different points in history: the aftermath of the First World War, which saw a rise in the number of nationalist governments in power, and the last decade of the twentieth century, which saw a revival of ethno-nationalist sentiment in these areas. Comparing nationalist and non-nationalist polities in order to establish the degree to which these governments differ in their treatment of women and families, Albanese concludes that although most ethno-nationalist regimes intend to return women to their 'natural' place in the home as housewives and mothers, their initiatives are mostly ineffective. These reforms are vehemently opposed by women's groups or individual women, are often reversed by subsequent governments, and have little long term demographic impact. Mothers of the Nation is an important addition to the study of women in a transnational context.

Patrizia Albanese is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at Ryerson University.

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