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Abstracts

Alexandra Bousiou (University of Gothenburg/University of Athens)
The Common European Asylum System under the light of the refugee crisis: A critical reading of the composition of the flows in Greece

During 2015 more than one million people reached Europe across the Mediterranean, mainly through the East Mediterranean route from Turkey to Greece. The vast majority of these people, around 856,723, arrived through the Greek border islands of the Aegean. This situation pushed the reception capacity of the islands beyond its limits and throughout the summer the refugee reception was based on local initiatives, volunteers and incentives of local governments. The Common European Asylum System is laying the minimum standards of reception for asylum seekers with a particular emphasis on protection of vulnerable groups. These standards were impossible to be met as the situation escalated into a crisis. Towards the end of the summer and progressively till the end of the year international NGO’s, International Organizations and European agencies such as Frontex and EASO arrived at the islands and besides contributing to the search and rescue as well as the registration and the reception of the refugees they published a vast array of reports, policy briefs, newsletters and press releases. This paper attempts a critical reading of the statistical data as well as the rest of the secondary sources produced by actors active in the islands. A specific focus is given in the composition of the flows, in terms of gender, age and family composition and the corresponding representation of this data in the discourses of the different actors.

Katharine Charsley (University of Bristol)
Work and remittances: Pakistani migrant husbands in the UK

This paper explores the utility of a focus on masculinity in understanding experiences and expectations around remitting for Pakistani migrant husbands in Britain, drawing on data collected as part of a broader Esrc-funded research project on marriage migration and integration. Most of the husbands interviewed aspired to send money regularly to family in Pakistan, but remittances where often a point of tension with their British Pakistani wives. A gendered analysis combining a focus on transnational performance of valued masculinities with local negotiations of domestic power and labour market disadvantage provides an enriched understanding of these dynamics.

Shereen El Feki (Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto, Promundo)
Shadow of a Man: Understanding Men and Masculinities in the Middle East and North Africa

Men are the pillars of patriarchy across the Arab region. Yet, paradoxically, relatively little is known about their lives or their attitudes towards the shifting roles of men and women in their societies. “Gender”, as conventionally defined in the Middle East and North Africa, has distinctly female features: most international and domestic attention, be it foreign development assistance, governmental policy-making or community programming, is focused on women and girls.
Yet is it clear that these pillars are under stress. Emerging research shows men and boys struggling with double-digit unemployment, scholastic underachievement, chronic health complaints—a situation exacerbated by, widespread conflict and displacement as well as political authoritarianism and religious fundamentalisms which extol models of masculinity increasingly out-of-reach for many. Add to these challenges a serious “image problem” within and beyond the region, as exceptional incidents—from the New Year’s Eve assaults in Cologne and gang rapes of Tahrir Square, to the Bataclan and Brussels terror attacks and the atrocities of ISIS militants—are generalized to paint the “Arab man” into a very dark corner.
The reality of men’s and boys’ lives across the Arab region is in urgent need of less heat and more light. Enter IMAGES MENA, the International Men and Gender Equality Survey Middle East and North Africa. This pioneering research, directed by Promundo under the aegis of UNWomen, is taking a wide angle lens to the lives of men at home and at work, as fathers and sons, husbands and partners, to be better understand men’s lives, not just in relation to women and but to one another as well. Currently in progress in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Territories, IMAGES MENA is reaching more than 9,000 men and women with its household surveys, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews. In combination with earlier research illuminating the intimate lives of men and boys (among them, Sex and the Citadel), IMAGES MENA will offer essential insights into the pressures and pleasures of men across the Arab region, with critical implications at home and abroad.

Oksana S. Gréen (University of Gothenburg)
Parenting and labour mobility in the Enlarged Europe: fathers' role in doing family across the borders

Post-enlargement labour migration within the EU boosted research interests regarding the changing family relations within the 'borderless Europe', especially with regard to the impact of migration on parenting and children. This presentation seeks to explore how care-arrangements of migrating parents, especially fathers are configured by institutional contexts in both sending and receiving countries. The target group of the research project is parents who migrated from Poland, Romania and Latvia following their countries’ accession to the EU and work in the lower-paid sectors of the Swedish labour market. Study participants were recruited for qualitative interviews using a range of different sites, including NGOs and trade union organisations, church ethnic congregations, personal networks, as well as snowballing. Drawing on Kilkey & Merlas' analytical approach to families' care-giving arrangements as being situated in a particular institutional context, we argue that the rights to welfare and family life for mobile EU workers in Sweden are conditional and highly stratified according to the working migrant residence and employment statuses. These creates complex implications on migrants’ personal experiences of parenting across the borders, where fathers’ experiences can be highlighted through the following themes, including the motivation for migration and the change of its temporary character over time; the ambivalences in providing care across the borders; the role of informal networks in mitigating the institutional constrains; motivation for fathers to reunite with their children and/or partners in Sweden or to continue living apart as a transnational family.

Melanie Griffiths (University of Bristol)
‘I’m a nothing man.’ Negotiating fatherhood and masculinity as a precarious male migrant

For academics, politicians and NGOs alike, the issues seen to relate to irregular male migrants tend to revolve around questions of legality, criminality and mobility. Little concern is generally afforded to the men’s emotional lives, except for a pervasive suspicion that any family life is cynically and opportunistically established in order to circumvent immigration controls. Drawing on qualitative research conducted with UK-based precarious male migrants and their British citizen or EEA national female girlfriends and wives as part of a three year ESRC-funded project based at the University of Bristol, this talk considers the discrepancy between how the men and immigration officials value and construe these relationships. It explores the effect of having family ties in the UK on the men’s experience of the immigration system, as well as the impact of immigration insecurity on the formation and sustainability of family life. Case studies of mixed-status families are provided in order to explore how immigration precarity and enforcement measures conflict with the men’s performance of fatherhood and partnership, and how such tensions affect their sense of self. Particular attention is given to immigration detention and the prohibition of employment as examples of ways in which the immigration system reaches into the heart of family life and produce gendered implications for irregular migrant men’s ability to be the parents and partners they wish to be.

Jeff Hearn (Örebro University, Hanken School of Economics, University of Huddersfield)

I have been arguing for quite a long time that critical, that is, feminist(ic), studies and politics on men and masculinities have been severely limited by ‘methodological nationalism’. This latter emphasis can lead attention away from some larger and more determinate questions, even when analyses are framed in comparative terms. Perhaps for these reasons the question of migration, that is men’s actual and potential migration and its effects, has appeared as somewhat muted within critical studies and politics of men and masculinities until relatively recently. In this session, I introduce a re-reading of these politics and studies, by emphasising the history and significance of migration (and sometimes non-migration) as an understated aspect. One reason for this understating might be that ‘migration’ has often been implicitly coded as ethnicised and racialized, concerned with those constructed as others, non-locals, and various ‘non-whites’. Yet migration is a much more variegated and complex set of processes involving men and masculinities across classes, ethnicities, and other differences, that, in crossing borders or seeking to do so, may disrupt methodological nationalism, and implicate (almost) all. Accordingly, I argue that migration is not an add-on of ‘non-migratory’ critical studies and politics on men and masculinities but a central part, in terms of historical development and theoretical significance.

Pierrette Hondagneu – Sotelo (University of Southern California)
Men, Migration, Masculinity and Place: Immigrant Integration and Homemaking

What kinds of immigrant masculinities are welcomed, and what kinds are rejected?
Moreover, how are masculinities deployed in early 21rst century xenophobic campaigns? The presentation will begin by discussing masculinities in some of the contemporary xenophobic political campaigns, and then it will shift to a discussion of a particular group of Latino immigrant men in California. First, I will argue for the importance of place and gender in immigrant integration, as I seek to nudge the sociology of immigration studies away from the dominant paradigms of assimilation and transnationalism, towards one that acknowledges how quotidian practices and the materiality and meanings of place constitute active assertions for the right to make a home in the city. Secondly, this paper builds on several decades of gender and migration scholarship, and seeks to bring immigrant men back into the frame, not as androcentric agents, but as actors with gendered, intersectional social locations imbued with both masculine privilege and social marginality. Thirdly, the sociology of immigration has mostly ignored the materiality of the built environment in processes of settlement and immigrant integration, and this paper adds a focus on how plant nature and landscape shape immigrant integration in inner-city contexts. Immigrant integration is a process that includes receiving society openness to immigrants, and the process of immigrants making new homes, and in conclusion I will discuss immigrant men making new homes in public and semi-public green spaces. The empirical work informing this paper is in process, and includes one and half years of team ethnography and interview data collected in public parks and a large community garden in South Los Angeles, specifically in the neighborhoods of Watts, historic South Central Ave., and Vermont Slauson.

Giuseppe Masullo (University of Salerno)
Homosexuality elsewhere: North African male migrants, sexuality and transcultural identity strategies

The present paper is based upon a research on the experiences of foreign homosexuals in Italy, in particular males from the Maghrib region, namely Morocco and Tunisia.
Starting from a theoretical reflection that takes into account the various possible situations experienced by migrants, we will analyse the complexities arising in terms of identity for foreigners who, when living their sexuality, relate both with the cultural standards of the country of origin (often homophobic and repressive) and with those of the host country, in which they can instead intercept new opportunities to express themselves and their desires.
The analysis of social representations has been paramount, and it exposed a composite intertwining of images and behaviour patterns with which immigrants from Maghrib relate to homosexuality. These are partly modelled on the ideas of homosexuality learned in the contexts of origin – as for the issue of gender roles and their influence on the definition of sexual identity – and partly learned from the ideas of homosexuality existing in the host countries, which is much more likely for young migrants. The persistence of a negative view of homosexuality due to the statute of the zamel, associating homosexuality and feminine traits – and the fact that this vision is often attributed to the locals – helps us understand how in migration stereotypical representations of homosexual identity are reproduced (from both locals and foreigners) due to the effect of complex inter-ethnic relationships. These aspects have been also highlighted by the researches within the queer migration studies theory. In this sense, the ways of living sexual identities are also ways to measure the migrants' degree of proximity/distance towards models and lifestyles prevalent in the host country but not necessarily embraced or legitimized.

Marion Pajumetis (Tallinn University)
Migrant Domestic Fathers' Transnational Masculine Identity Work

This analysis focuses on Estonian male migrants to ‘Old Europe’ who spend most of their time in the domestic realm as caring fathers and supportive spouses to their wives, who are meanwhile advancing their professional careers abroad. For men from the former Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) that is a region still rather conservative in terms of gendered divisions of labour, they lead atypical lives. In this situation, perceiving oneself as a ‘real man’ may become a target one has to work hard on. This paper views masculine identity as an accomplishment achieved with ‘masculine identity talk’. Identity is a processual phenomenon that is relentlessly, although not always deliberately, (re)formulated in discourse, not entirely predetermined by the social roles one performs. Analysis of in-depth interviews with migrant domestic men reveals that they employ of a variety of discourses that efficiently reconstruct their sense of personal masculine significance. Interestingly, they predominantly combine during one single interview ‘alternative’ discourses (‘caring father’, ‘supportive spouse’, ‘civilised adult’), which potentially undermine idealised masculinity in CEE, with the ‘conservative’ discourses (‘professional man’, ‘well-off’), that reinforce the male norm ‘back home’. Their rather casual combination of opposing and even conflicting discourses reflects those men’s transnational existence and transnational masculine identity talk - working on one’s masculinity drawing on and mixing the cultural ideas of masculinity from the ‘New Europe’ as well as from the ‘Old Europe’.

Paula Pustułka (Jagiellonian University)
Conformism, complicity and incompliance within mobile masculinities - Polish men as migrant workers, husbands and fathers

As the highly mobile nation, Poles experience multiple consequences of international migrations. One key area where mobility alters the ideas, relationships and meanings, is the complexity of the social fabric constituting families and the gender relations. Changes to gender orders and family practices are inherently crucial for the coupledom and intergenerational ties. While extensive research has focused on Polish women on the move, often applying a morally judgmental view on their international endeavours as incompliant with traditional caring femininity of mothers and wives, the migrant men remained largely unproblematized. The economic and cultural juxtaposition that frames men and women as breadwinners vis-à-vis carers, has generally resulted in little attention given to how global masculinities and constructions of male roles in other geographic contexts that migrating men encounter may take effect on the Polish male identities.
In this paper, the theoretical framework seeks to link the theories known from masculinity studies to the conceptual frames in which men appear in as migrants. These are then applied to three particular roles of Polish migrant men in the discussions. First dimension deals with the traditional role of being an employee as a labour migrant, shedding some light on the inner-conflicts and paradoxes that stem from successful fulfilment of the breadwinner role (conformism) on the one hand, and the diminished, often deskilled and marginalized position that men experience in the workforce abroad (incompliance), on the other. Secondly, the paper addresses men in transnational and reunited partnerships, documenting whether an emotional strain of separation emerges, as well as depicting some of the escapist and complicit tactics that men adopt as “grass widowers” abroad. Finally, the paper delineates the phenomenon of the “away-fatherhood” (conformist absent fatherhood) and compares it with the shifts occurring within fathering in the reunited migrant families (incompliant family practices). While the arguments presented in this paper rely on the empirically supported example of Polish migrant men, they pinpoint wider dimensions of the possible intersections between masculinities and mobilities.

Elli Scambor (Verein für Männer- und Geschlechterthemen Steiermark )
Engaging with Differences: (Migrant) Boys in Education in Europe and the Case of Early School Leaving

The paper discusses results of the most recent European Study on the Role of Men in Gender Equality, which offers an international comparison of the situation of boys and outlines major trends related to gender disparities in education across Europe. An in-depth analysis of male early school leavers leads to a deeper understanding of boys as heterogeneous social groups. Relations between so called “costs” and “privileges” in education show considerable varieties due to differences between boys, with educational careers being strongly influenced by social class and migration. In order to give answers to the question, why for some boys ‚doing student‘ and ‚doing masculinity‘ seems to be contradictory, it is of high importance to analyse patterns of masculinities in the school context. As recent studies show, culturalised interpretation patterns in schools tend to reduce educational perspectives of boys with migrant histories. And social research can reproduce these inequalities as well, when explanatory patterns for early school leaving draw a causal link between characteristics of boys (and parents) with migration histories and neglect institutional factors.

Agnieszka Trąbka (Jagiellonian University)
Self-positioning as a man in transnational context. Constructing and managing gender identity

The majority of research on migrant men is focused on critical analysis regarding the domestic sphere, family relations, power and equality. The analysis is often based on juxtaposition of migrants’ patterns of masculinity with Western ones. Little attention is paid to young, highly skilled, single migrants who may also experience tensions regarding their gender role as they change countries. This paper is based on biographical narrative interviews with men of different nationalities migrating in childhood and in their adult lives (serial migrants).
Among adolescents and young adults different visions of masculinities and gender roles are important factor contributing to general adaptation, as they influence ways of spending free time, making friends, being accepted in the peer group etc. Thus, on the one hand they can impede adaptation, on the other – these differences may be used to evade gender norms that are oppressive or inconvenient.
I will present three case studies illustrating different strategies of constructing and managing one’s masculinity. First I will discuss difficulties in defining one’s own gender identity when confronted with contrasting visions of masculinity and lack of strong role model. Secondly I will consider possible difficulties in finding a partner and building a relationship due to different gender role attitudes and expectations. Finally, I will examine how non-heteronormative masculinity becomes a pivotal part of identity built on contrasts and differences.

Michael Tunc (University of Wuppertal)
Studies on Fathering and Father Engagement Programs in Germany in intersectional Perspective: Migrant Fathers in Critical Diversity/Race and Gender/Masculinity Studies and Consequences for Social Work

The starting point is that there are only a few Studies on Fathering of Migrants in Germany. On the other hand we have ethnicized discourses about migrant fathers in Germany, so I will describe the challenge to use an intersectional approach.
Engaged Fathering is to discuss in conflicts with hegemonic Masculinities: How are esp. developmental Psychology Studies on Fathering are to integrate in a broader sociological Perspective of Masculinity and Intersectionality?
Studies who analyze ongoing transformations of Masculinity/Fathering should take into account the influence of experiences like social or racist exclusion some men (eg. socially disadvantaged migrant men/fathers) have to cope with.
I discuss the Dominance of the cross cultural Perspective and the Lack of a Critical Diversity and Race Perspective on Fathering and Masculinity debates about migrants in Germany.
I emphasize the potential that A. D. Mutua’s “progressive black Masculinities” (2006) offers for debates in Migration Societies: a new theoretical concept and approach for Masculinity Studies, that contains potential in order to further develop Connells hegemonic Masculinities in Studies on Fathering, esp. when dealing with migrant fathers.
In this theoretical framework I ask, how Social Work and Adult Education is dealing with the mentioned current challenges: based on empirical Findings of an Evaluation of Father Engagement Programs for migrant fathers the further Development in Germany will be examined in an intersectional perspective.

 

Organizers and Sponsors

Katarzyna Wojnicka, Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Gothenburg katarzyna.wojnicka@gu.se

Hosted by the Centre for European Research at the University of Gothenburg (CERGU) www.cergu.gu.se/english

Sponsored by:

Page Manager: Birgitta Jännebring|Last update: 5/24/2016
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