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Nira Yuval-Davis, The Politics of Belonging: Intersectional Contestations.

Department of Sociology, University of Alberta
Publication Date
  • Linguistics
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Religious Science


© Canadian Journal of SoCiology/CahierS CanadienS de SoCiologie 37(3) 2012 349 Book Review/Compte Rendu Nira Yuval-Davis, The Politics of Belonging: Intersectional Contestations. Los Angeles: Sage, 2011, 252 pp. $46.00 paper (9781412921305), $108.00 hardcover (9781412921299) Nira Yuval-Davis’s book is an original contribution to ongoing schol-arly debates on intersectionality, belonging, and citizenship. She seeks to expand theories of intersectionality beyond women and gender studies, and presents a remarkable intersectional analysis of politics of belonging. The main argument of the book can be summarized as fol- lows: In the context of neoliberal globalization, multiple political pro- jects of belonging have emerged as alternatives to hegemonic forms of citizenship and nationalism. She takes a closer look at political projects that are centred around religion, cosmopolitanism, feminist ethics of care, as well as alternative discourses of nationalism, and argues that it is no longer possible to fully understand formal state citizenship without examining how it intersects with these multilayered projects at sub-state, cross-state, and supra-state levels. In other words, individuals simul- taneously engage in these multiple political projects of belonging, and they are affected and positioned differently by each one. And, the author believes that these complexities of belonging can be best approached through the perspective of intersectionality. The book consists of six chapters, plus the conclusion. Each chapter is devoted to a major contemporary political project of belonging, where the author presents an extensive overview of theoretical debates and a set of examples. In chapter 1, Yuval-Davis introduces her theoretical framework. She first engages in a detailed analysis of theories of inter- sectionality, belonging, and politics of belonging, and then examines the interlocking processes of globalization and glocalization, with a special emphasis on neoliberal

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