Constructing an Imperfect Citizen-Subject: Globalization, National “Security” and Violence Against South Asian Women

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The landscape of antiviolence advocacy for South Asian women living in the United States has been altered in several significant ways. My research on legal advocacy for South Asian women suggests that distinct patterns of abuse against immigrant women are not easily addressed within existing legal paradigms of domestic violence because mainstream advocacy models continue to imagine as their primary subject women who do not experience interlocking forms of oppression. Drawing on ethnographic and archival data, I argue that South Asian women’s incomplete access to antiviolence laws in the United States provides further evidence of the salience of nation-state boundaries, particularly in the lives of gendered subjects whose enjoyment of citizenship, I argue, remains imperfect.