From national construction to new battles
in Our fighting sisters
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This chapter examines in more detail urban, educated women’s relationship to the state in the 1960s and 1970s. It looks at how these women participated in what were termed ‘tasks of national construction’ because they believed in the necessity of state-building, even if they might disagree with an authoritarian, and often socially conservative, political system. It then considers how the relationship between urban, educated interviewees and the state began to change in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The reactionary 1984 Family Code challenged the belief in gender-neutral citizenship, leading some of these women to use their status as female veterans to produce a new feminist-nationalist narrative of the nation. Whilst the civil violence of the 1990s forced an accommodation of necessity between urban, educated veterans and the state, the 2010s have been marked by this particular group of women once more reframing their life stories for a new era, presenting themselves as the voices of the weak against the abuse of state power.

Our fighting sisters

Nation, memory and gender in Algeria, 1954–2012

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