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Accepted Paper:

Women's rights for equal citizens or cultural rights for a particular people? Gender and conflict on the Basque border   
Margaret Bullen (University of the Basque Country, Donostia-San Sebastián)

Paper short abstract:

Twenty years ago a conflict arose in two towns on the French-Spanish border over the right of women to take part on an equal footing with men in the annual parade central to their summer festivals, a conflict setting citizenship and equal rights against cultural specificity and Basqueness.

Paper long abstract:

Based on an ethnographic study of the conflict arising over the demand of a group of women and men for the right of women to take part on equal terms with men in the annual parade which constitutes the central act of the local festivals, this paper looks at issues of national and cultural identity which have been fought over for the past two decades in two neighbouring towns on the Spanish-French border of the Basque Country: Irun and Hondarribia.

It is a conflict which has become not only a reference for the Basque and Spanish feminist movement seeking equality at all levels of social and cultural life, including fiestas, but has also become a talking point in local town halls where cultural celebrations have been reviewed in the light of the Irun-Hondarribia conflict with a view to working towards a citizenship based on human civil rights which include gender equality.

However, in a stateless nation such as the Basque Country, the concept of citizenship can clash with the notion of "the people" and the defence of cultural specificity. This is further complicated by the location of the towns on the French-Spanish state border which makes it a fascinating ethnographical site for exploring how national imaginaries are produced and questioned by feminism in an era of globalization and with a backdrop of political conflict.

Panel P052
Conflicted citizenships: ethnographies of power, memory and belonging
  Session 1