Since the rise of the new wave of feminism in the 1960s, issues concerning the body have been at the heart of the challenge posed by women's movements. The female body has always been a contested site, subject to state policies regulating its procreative and sexual capacities, as well as its (in)violability. Violence against women was often condoned by state authorities as a family affair, and the control of women was generally delegated to private patriarchal authority. Women's bodies have been part of a broader imaginary about national vitality and served as markers of national belonging. They figure as 'materialization' of the imagined community of the nation and its borders (Yuval-Davis, 1998). Women's bodies were the cornerstone of their 'natural' otherness and exclusion from the rights of citizenship. It is, therefore, not surprising that women's movements across Europe (and elsewhere) had bodily integrity on the top of their agenda, leading to concrete demands on a whole range of body issues. The issue of bodily integrity lies at the core of the concept of bodily citizenship, which is concerned with guaranteeing that the individual is autonomous and free from external intervention in relation to decisions about her (or his) body.
The classic formulation of citizenship rights has not included bodily or sexual rights; in feminist scholarship on citizenship the concept of bodily citizenship is also underdeveloped (e.g. in Phillips, 1991a; Siim and Squires, 2008). Our research could therefore not depart from a fully developed theoretical framework, though there was some previous work from which we could proceed.
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 118-140 p.