This book addresses the research done for my dissertation in Athens, Greece,
in 1994. Yet the project of the book is di√erent from that of the dissertation
defended in 1997. This book develops a line of analysis and argumentation
that became visible once the dissertation was complete. The focus shifted
from abortion and national identity to sexuality and nationalism, and to re-
theorizing the gendered subject of late modernity by exploring new relations
between elements of the historically situated discourses that produce it in a
formally democratic context. The social relationship between agency, vio-
lence, and discourse became central.
Through every stage of developing this book, from the formation of the
original idea all the way through the dissertation and then the additional years
of radical reworking, I have benefited from the scholarly advice, intellectual
friendship and support of many. Some generously o√ered me their thoughts
and comments during the first formative phase of this project. Of these, I am
most grateful to the chair of my doctoral committee, rigorous and yet creative
sociologist, and relentless editor, Chandra Mukerji, as well as to Dan Hallin
and Michael Schudson, both of whom not only inspired the media analysis
but also helped to hone the larger argument concerning liberal democracy.
Lisa Lowe also made important insightful comments throughout, especially
with regard to feminist theory, and lightly o√ered vital practical and intellec-
tual assistance at a determining moment in the book’s development. Without
Page DuBois and her incisive comments at critical junctions from the very
beginning of the project as a research proposal in 1991, this book might not
have been born(e). Last but not at all least, Michael Herzfeld carefully read and
meticulously commented on the full doctoral dissertation, in addition to sup-
porting this work since then in multiple crucial ways, and also became a very
good friend. The standards of excellence set by each of these scholars were
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