epilogue:
theory and policy
C
Bodies are literally made—or not, as in the case of abortion—from discourses.
It is not just a metaphor, a figure of speech, or a phatic postmodern refrain. It
is perhaps, in the end, only empirically grounded work that can further theory
while also proving this point to its skeptics. This study of abortion and the
demografiko in Greece o√ers rich evidence documenting this thesis. Thus,
this study both illuminates the politics of modern Greece and extends this
theoretical argument. I have argued that it is culturally-specific nationalist
discourses that repeatedly produce fetuses and it is these that yield disparate
formations of personhood such that the fetus, although often seen as a child,
is then aborted. Discourses make both bodies that matter, as Judith Butler
(1993) named her important book, and, I suggest, nations that naturalize—at
this historical moment, globally in new ways that are at times unexpectedly
violent. The two moves together seem to be viscerally connected, each one
mothering the other, united by an invisible but very strong umbilical cord.
This analysis of the interanimation of discourses of nationhood and gen-
der raises several important practical issues for our understanding of liberal
democracies and for attempts to shape public policy that supports what is
thought of as democracy. For example, the central, if unacknowledged, as-
sumption underlying the popular as well as formally political imaginings of
Greece is that of Greece as a form of a religious state. A major preoccupation
of current scholarly and policy work has been that both formally religious
states and states that simply have a high degree of religiosity (as this is gauged
by a varying set of measures) do not have the capacity to be liberal democratic
states. Certainly, one interesting way to contest this thesis would be to present
an analysis of political culture in a country typically seen as exemplifying the
liberal democratic nation-state, such as the United States today, which would
document the deep-rooted religiosity that animates it. ‘‘The cradle of democ-
Previous Page Next Page