Gender, Nationalism, Citizenship, and Nunavut’s Territorial “House”: A Case Study of the Gender Parity Proposal Debate

Elana Wilson

Abstract

On April 1, 1999 one-fifth of Canada’s landmass became Nunavut, a new Arctic territory in which eighty-five percent of the population of 28,000 is Inuit. In this paper, I explore how overlapping vocabularies of nationalism and citizenship, so successful in external negotiations with the Canadian state, were brought home and utilized to defend competing positions in the internal debate over a unique proposal that would have ensured gender parity in Nunavut’s territorial legislature. The gender parity debate is analyzed to illustrate the way that different political actors mobilized the concepts of nationalism and citizenship to support competing positions and how these two discourses influenced notions of the spaces in which gender difference can be acknowledged legitimately.

  • Elana Wilson, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, Lensfield Road, Cambridge CB2 1ER U.K.

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