Right-Wing Sisterhood: Everyday Politics of Hindu Nationalist Women in India and Zionist Settler Women in Israel-Palestine

Mehta, Akanksha. 2017. Right-Wing Sisterhood: Everyday Politics of Hindu Nationalist Women in India and Zionist Settler Women in Israel-Palestine. Doctoral thesis, SOAS, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Right-Wing movements have gained political momentum in the last few decades, drawing within their ranks women who not only embody their exclusionary and violent politics but who also simultaneously contest everyday patriarchies. This thesis examines the everyday politics of women in two right-wing movements, the cultural nationalist Hindu right-wing project in India and the settler-colonial Zionist project in Israel-Palestine. Based on fourteen months of ethnographic, narrative, and visual ‘fieldwork’ conducted with women in both these movements, I argue that through a politics of the everyday, right-wing women bargain and negotiate with patriarchal communities/homes, male-formulated ideologies and discourses, and male-dominated right-wing projects and spaces. These mediations replicate and affirm as well as subvert and challenge patriarchal structures and power hierarchies, troubling the binaries of home/world, private/public, personal/political, and victim/agent. I assert that dominant literature on right-wing women focuses on motherhood and family, ignoring various other crucial subject positions that are constituted and occupied by right-wing women and neglecting the agential and empowering potential of right-wing women’s subjectivities.

I use four themes/lenses to examine the everyday politics of right-wing women. These are: pedagogy and education; charity and humanitarian work; intimacy, friendship, sociability and leisure; and political violence. By interrogating the practices that are contained in and enabled by these four locations of Hindu right-wing and Zionist settler women’s everyday politics, this thesis highlights the multiple narratives, contradictions, pluralities, hierarchies, power structures, languages, and discourses that encompass right-wing women’s projects. By capturing the processes of subject formation of right-wing women, I encapsulate how my interlocutors shape the subjectivities of those in their communities, transforming the local and international landscapes of the Hindu right-wing and the Zionist settler project. Drawing together ethnographic narratives, ‘story-telling’, visuals, methodological and ethical reflections, and inter-disciplinary theoretical engagement, this thesis also asks what the many-layered textures of everyday politics of right-wing women might mean for feminist scholarship in gender studies, politics, and international relations, for feminist methodologies, for feminist ethics, and for feminist activism.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies


May 2017

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

27 Nov 2018 16:19

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 14:14



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