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Engendering Forced Migration

Engendering Forced Migration: Theory and Practice

Edited by Doreen Indra
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 424
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  • Book Info
    Engendering Forced Migration
    Book Description:

    At the turn of the new millenium, war, political oppression, desperate poverty, environmental degradation and disasters, and economic underdevelopment are sharply increasing the ranks of the world's twenty million forced migrants. In this volume, eighteen scholars provide a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary look beyond the statistics at the experiences of the women, men, girls, and boys who comprise this global flow, and at the highly gendered forces that frame and affect them. In theorizing gender and forced migration, these authors present a set of descriptively rich, gendered case studies drawn from around the world on topics ranging from international human rights, to the culture of aid, to the complex ways in which women and men envision displacement and resettlement.

    eISBN: 978-1-78238-159-4
    Subjects: Sociology, Business

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-ix)
  3. List of Tables
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. x-xi)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. xii-xviii)

    As in the evolution of many academic domains devoted to the study of phenomena that are also significant social issues, the study of forced migration initially was powerfully influenced by representations of refugees and flight driving from that social issues discourse. Research consequently focused on particular kinds of political refugees, not environmentally forced migrants and certainly not so-called ‘economic migrants’. Conceptually, ‘refugee’ in most academic research up to the mid-1980s was essentially what it was in folk discourse, save in legal studies. The formative days of refugee studies was also characterized by a concentration on the comparatively short period when...

  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xix-xxi)
  7. 1 Not a “Room of One’s Own”: Engendering Forced Migration Knowledge and Practice
    (pp. 1-22)
    Doreen Indra

    This chapter introduces some challenges to the more thorough integration of gender into forced migration research and practice. There are many ways in which this might be accomplished, none of which can be exhaustive or definitive. What I have done is to take a broadly historical journey through several research discourses on gender that highlight what I see as a range of pertinent framing, representational, and revisioning challenges facing forced migration studies and practice today. This approach has in turn required me to read

    ‘gender issues in forced migration’ differently than some may anticipate. Onecouldtake a quite circumscribed,...

  8. 2 Gendering Those Uprooted by ‘Development’
    (pp. 23-39)
    Elizabeth Colson

    Boserup long since pointed out that households or families are composed of individuals whose productive roles and ability to benefit from production are determined or at least strongly influenced by the structure of gendered relationships (1970). This has become at least a rhetorical commonplace among those who critique development projects, especially those that purport to serve agricultural populations, and the literature on the roles of women in agriculture and as wage earners and how these are affected by centralized planning is now vast (see for example, Adepoju and Oppong 1994; Afsar 1991; Ahmed 1984; Beneria 1982; Chilvers 1992; Creevey 1986;...

  9. 3 Interview with Barbara Harrell-Bond
    (pp. 40-62)
    Doreen Indra and Barbara Harrell-Bond

    Q.Before becoming involved in refugee studies you had established yourself studying more conventional anthropological subjects in Sierra Leone. How did you come to do the field research on African forced migrants that was the basis for your book,Imposing Aid?

    A. Well, first of all, I have never been “established” as a “conventional anthropologist” in the sense of having a ‘my’ people approach, nor did I ever study “conventional” anthropological subjects! My first research was in fact in a housing estate in Oxford, Blackbird Leys. It was the last, largest, most ‘progressive’ housing estate built in Britain and was intended for working-class migrants. The housing shortage in Oxford was a consequence of the migration of workers from other parts of the United Kingdom as well as some from the Commonwealth who had come to Oxford to work in the motor...

  10. 4 Girls and War Zones: Troubling Questions
    (pp. 63-82)
    Carolyn Nordstrom

    The inception of this chapter dates to a day in 1990 when I was sitting in a hot and dusty town in Central Zambezia, Mozambique. The town had just been retaken by the Frelimo governmental forces after having been under rebel Renamo control for several years. Renamo was credited with the majority of human rights abuses during the war, and the Renamo commander in charge of this town had a particularly brutal reputation. During Renamo’s occupancy, the town center had been destroyed, and a sea of small mud huts spread in all directions on the outskirts of the city ruins....

  11. 5 Gendered Violence in War: Reflections on Transnationalist and Comparative Frameworks in Militarized Conflict Zones
    (pp. 83-93)
    Wenona Giles

    This chapter addresses issues of forced migration that surface in the gendered violations of women in homes and households in war.¹ I also explore the potential for comparative analysis of these issues across militarized conflict zones. From a comparative perspective, I argue that ideas and images of the home are often central to nationalist and protonationalist ideologies that inform these conflicts. In such cases, the home as an everyday, tangible and ‘natural’ conceptual unit is frequently mapped onto the intangible abstractions of nation and state. In this process, homes or households are then often rendered invisible in folk discourse. Nor...

  12. 6 Gender Relief and Politics During the Afghan War
    (pp. 94-123)
    Diana Cammack

    It was with horror that many people read these words in theGuardian Weekly(29 October 1995), for observers had hoped that the newest mujahedeen movement, the Taleban, then sweeping through western Afghanistan, would bring enlightenment, unity, and, finally, peace to the beleaguered country.¹ This was not to be, for the appearance of the Taleban simply added one more player to the crowded field of warlords vying for power in Kabul, and initiated yet another rearrangement of alliances between old and bitter rivals.

    Readers should not have been surprised by the conservatism of the Taleban, for it is guided by...

  13. 7 Response to Cammack
    (pp. 124-127)
    Peter Marsden

    Dr. Cammack’s chapter raises some very difficult issues relating to religious fundamentalism, identity politics, the role of humanitarian agencies in complex emergencies, and the interface between the West and the Islamic world.

    Central to her thesis is the assertion that the West has been willing to openly condemn the gender policies of the Taleban whereas they ignored the very similar policies of the mujahedeen. Her argument that this is due to the greater strategic interest which the US had in continuing cooperation with the mujahedeen has considerable validity. Certainly, while the US is rumored to be backing the Taleban because...

  14. 8 Upsetting the Cart: Forced Migration and Gender Issues, the African Experience
    (pp. 128-145)
    Patrick Matlou

    This chapter covers the root causes of forced migration in Africa¹ and the related international refugee regime. It also touches on the participation of females and children in wars; the unraveling of the state, social institutions, and structures; assistance programs and their reinforcement of male domination; resettlement and voluntary repatriation. Although internal displacees are discussed, refugees are my main focus. In Africa as elsewhere, males have often been the instigators of violent conflict, yet they are not necessarily the ones who suffer the most. The vulnerable members of society—children, women, the elderly, and the infirm—usually come out worst...

  15. 9 Women Migrants of Kagera Region, Tanzania: The Need for Empowerment
    (pp. 146-164)
    Charles David Smith

    The women who contributed to this study¹ were not refugees from political, religious, ethnic, or other persecution; they were forced to flee poverty and patriarchal custom.² They migrated to accumulate the capital needed to set up independent households. Haya women are the most productive members of their society but paradoxically are the poorest. This study of four villages in Hayaland, the Kagera region of Tanzania, confirms a common tendency in rural Africa: women carry out approximately two-thirds of all work but earn only one-third of the aggregate cash income. Most of women’s meager incomes are used to care for children,...

  16. 10 The Relevance of Gendered Approaches to Refugee Health: A Case Study in Hagadera, Kenya
    (pp. 165-176)
    Marleen Boelaert, Fabienne Vautier, Tine Dusauchoit, Wim Van Damme and Monique Van Dormael

    Gender is increasingly recognized by social scientists as a significant vulnerability criterion in forced migration (Sapir 1993), and several international aid agencies have recently developed a gender policy (UNHCR 1995a). Before rushing blindly to establish a parallel fashion trend in refugee public health, it seems sensible for health professionals to reflect carefully on the relevance of gender as a public health risk factor in crisis situations. What is the evidence for gendered differences in health in crisis situations?Dowomen have specific health needs in these situations? Are the health staff of relief programs aware of gender issues and do...

  17. 11 Post-Soviet Russian Migration from the New Independent States: Experiences of Women Migrants
    (pp. 177-199)
    Natalya Kosmarskaya

    Issues related to post-Soviet migrations and to their gender dimensions are seriously underexplored in Russia.¹ It is true that there are many signs that research on migration is on the upswing and that this new work will derive much strength from established academic traditions. Concerning migration studies, the major thing needed now is sufficient time for scholars to comprehend and digest those new migration patterns brought about by the collapse of the former Soviet Union. In contrast, research on gender relations remains in its infancy. To extend the metaphor, the study of the intersection of gender and ethnicity (including migration...

  18. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  19. 12 A Space for Remembering: Home-Pedagogy and Exilic Latina Women’s Identities
    (pp. 200-217)
    Inés Gómez

    Language is the main signifier of the historical self. We constantly name our autobiographical search that witnesses what is inscribed, remembered, or appears to make sense: the ‘here’ and ‘there’ in the space configuration of our positionality. Our utterances trace the ambiguities of a past. To remember anything nostalgically is to do so through the lens of one’s present, at the same time projecting it as a sign into the future. The dilemma of exilic memories is that language is caught between the language that names what is already known and the language of ‘difference’, which tries to articulate experiences....

  20. 13 Eritrean Canadian Refugee Households As Sites of Gender Renegotiation
    (pp. 218-241)
    Atsuko Matsuoka and John Sorenson

    Forced migration and processes of resettlement and adaptation to new environments require exiles and refugees to come to terms with unfamiliar circumstances and demands, often by assuming new roles and renegotiating expectations, behaviors, and relationships that have operated in the past. Many of these new circumstances are lived most intensely within the context of the household and are frequently enacted along the lines of gender. Household and gender relations, therefore, offer important sites for understanding how exiles and refugees come to terms with their new situations. This chapter discusses some of these renegotiations by setting them in the case of...

  21. 14 Negotiating Masculinity in the Reconstruction of Social Place: Eritrean and Ethiopian Refugees in the United States and Sweden
    (pp. 242-260)
    Lucia Ann McSpadden

    This chapter explores the challenges to masculine identity experienced by a selected group of Ethiopian and Eritrean men in the United States and Sweden by virtue of being refugees.¹ Their varied and situational responses provide a view of efforts to reconstruct a coherent identity as men, an identity that may provide positive meaning and dignity within a harsh reality of usually forced choices. As such, this chapter is a point of departure for understanding the gendered nature of these men’s particular experience, of the refugee experience itself, and of the multiple layers and sites of relationships that shape the social...

  22. 15 The Human Rights of Refugees with Special Reference to Muslim Refugee Women
    (pp. 261-271)
    Khadija Elmadmad

    The situation facing refugees and other forced migrants is one of the most serious of this century of displacement. Today, we speak of 20 to 23 million refugees and of 24 to 25 million internally displaced persons. It is well known that women and children now represent 80 to 90 percent of these numbers (Jack 1996: 11). Few, however, appreciate that the majority of these migrant women and children are Muslim. Not only are the human rights of most of these female Muslim refugeesnotguaranteed, the very violation of their rights has become a well-institutionalized dimension of war. All...

  23. 16 A Comparative Analysis of the Canadian, US, and Australian Directives on Gender Persecution and Refugee Status
    (pp. 272-307)
    Audrey Macklin

    Like migrants themselves, ideas about migration diffuse across national borders. More often than not, these ideas concern how to keep migrants out— witness the European Community’sDublin Conventionand the draftMemorandum of Understandingbetween Canada and the United States.¹ A refreshing exception to this trend has been occurring of late, however. In March 1993, the Chair of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) releasedGuidelines on Women Refugee Claimants Fearing Gender-Related Persecution(Canada IRB 1993). In May 1995, the United States’ Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) issuedConsiderations for Asylum Officers Adjudicating Asylum Claims from Women(US INS 1995,...

  24. 17 Women and Refugee Status: Beyond the Public/Private Dichotomy in UK Asylum Policy
    (pp. 308-333)
    Heaven Crawley

    While the rules of international law are commonly assumed to be abstract, objective, and gender-neutral, feminist jurisprudence has emerged over the past decade as a systematic critique of the practice and profession of law, with its central theme that law is an inherently gendered system reinforcing male domination. It has been argued that the impact of ‘neutral’ laws is not always equal and that laws based on men’s lives do not effectively incorporate women’s experience: “Asking the ‘woman question’ means examining how the law fails to take into account the experiences and values that seem more typical of women than...

  25. 18 The Problem of Gender-Related Persecution: A Challenge of International Protection
    (pp. 334-342)
    Lisa Gilad

    Refugees leave their country because they fear serious violations of their basic human rights due to their civil or political status, or because of danger arising from external or internal aggression.¹ Their states cannot or will not protect them. Under certain conditions, enlightened interpretation of the UN definition of a Convention refugee can also protect women who are persecuted simply because theyarewomen by including them under one of five enumerated grounds of “membership in a particular social group” facing oppression by the state or its agents.² In fact, the Supreme Court of Canada has defined a particular social...

  26. 19 Anthropologists As ‘Expert Witnesses’
    (pp. 343-349)
    Sidney Waldron

    When I first saw Lisa Gilad’s chapter, I was quite surprised to learn of the importance of my testimony (in the form of an affidavit) in shaping the fate of an ‘Issa Somali woman applying for refugee status. Given the reported facts of the woman’s case, I thought she would be in desperate straits, should she be returned against her will to Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. Anthropologists are not trained to reach conclusions on the basis of minimal, secondhand reports, and I was aware of several questions I would have liked to investigate if this were possible and if the case...

  27. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 350-354)
  28. References
    (pp. 355-379)
  29. Index
    (pp. 380-393)