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Border PoliticsSocial Movements, Collective Identities, and Globalization$
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Nancy A. Naples and Jennifer Bickham Mendez

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781479898992

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479898992.001.0001

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Borders, Territory, and Ethnicity

Borders, Territory, and Ethnicity

Women and the Naga Peace Process

(p.95) 4 Borders, Territory, and Ethnicity
Border Politics

Duncan McDuie-Ra

NYU Press

This chapter analyzes the role of women in the politics of two adjoining territories in the India–Myanmar borderland: Nagaland and Manipur. Women's organizations and activists have been instrumental in making peace within their respective ethnic communities during decades of insurgency and counterinsurgency. As peace has slowly come to the region, competing territorial claims have been catalysts for ethnic tensions between hill-dwelling Naga communities and valley-dwelling Meitei communities. The chapter explores the relationship between women's agency, peace, territoriality, and ethnicity in the India–Myanmar borderlands focusing on three factors. First, women's organizations from the Naga and Metei communities deploy motherhood in their protests and counterprotests, affirming accepted gender roles within each community. Second, the political possibilities of motherhood as a discursive frame are bound by the dominance of territorial politics. Motherhood is an effective tool for mobilizing political action, but not effective enough to transcend hardening ethnic boundaries in the borderland. Third, as in other locations, women must contend with the dual expectation of working toward peace and upholding the interests of the larger community: a duality difficult to maintain in the political environment of the borderland.

Keywords:   India–Myanmar borderland, Nagaland, Manipur, women's agency, peace, territoriality, ethnicity, motherhood

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