Members Publications

Related articles, chapters and books authored by members of the GBV-MIG Consortium

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Jane Freedman

The uses and abuses of “vulnerability” in EU asylum and refugee protection: protecting women or reducing autonomy?

Freedman, Jane. (2018). «The uses and abuses of “vulnerability” in EU asylum and refugee protection: protecting women or reducing autonomy?»; Papeles del CEIC, vol. 2019/1, papel 204, 1-15. (http://dx.doi.org/10.1387/pceic.19525).

The concept of vulnerability has become central in European asylum and refugee law and policy in recent years. The adoption of special measures designed to offer greater protection to vulnerable asylum seekers might be seen as a positive step. However, the way in which vulnerability has been defined is open to question. Too often vulnerability is reduced to a simplistic and essentialised categorisation, which is also highly gendered and racialized. Women are thus categorized as «vulnerable» a priori, without real consideration of the structural and contextual causes of this vulnerability. Whilst being classed as «vulnerable» can increase chances of protection within EU asylum and refugee systems, the impacts on those who are classified as vulnerable can be felt as forms of symbolic violence which reduce agency and autonomy. Based on interviews with asylum seekers and refugees, as well as an analysis of recent EU asylum directives, this article calls for a re-thinking of the uses of vulnerability in EU asylum policies in order to afford better protection, whilst at the same time recognising the agency and autonomy of asylum seekers and refugees.

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Elsa Tyszler

From controlling mobilities to control over women’s bodies: gendered effects of EU border externalization in Morocco

Tyszler, E. From controlling mobilities to control over women’s bodies: gendered effects of EU border externalization in Morocco. CMS 7, 25 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40878-019-0128-4

Taking the perspective of the Central and West African women blocked at the Moroccan-Spanish border, reveals how EU policies, in exporting their anti-migrant war to African countries, seem to have reinforced a continuum of male dominance: by creating, along the migratory route, a succession of spaces where African women must resist and/or succumb to multiple relations of power and domination in order to be able to cross the securitized borders, controlled by a plurality of actors but often all men. Breaking with binary and essentialist views that often present them as merely passive subjects of their migration, the women interviewed disclose hidden mechanisms and effects of the externalization of EU migration control policies on the bodies and lives of those who fight for their freedom of movement. Based on 30-months of ethnographic research in Morocco and the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, this article aims to show how EU border externalization provokes racialized and gendered vulnerabilization of people seeking mobility and notably reinforces gender-based violence against migrant women. There are several levels of violence against women seeking mobility at borders, we will focus on two: violence emanating from certain men who are part of the organization of the crossing, and violence exerted by the States policing the border. Both of these cases illustrate the interaction between mobility control policies and control over women’s bodies as an effect of border externalization.

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Nina Sahraoui

Integration into liminality: women’s lives in an open centre for migrants at Europe’s Southern Antechamber

Nina Sahraoui (2019): Integration into liminality: women’s lives in an open centre for migrants at Europe’s Southern Antechamber, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2019.1597690

This article examines the ‘integration discourse’ that characterises migrants’ governance in the Centre for the Temporary Stay of Immigrants (CETI) in the Spanish enclave of Melilla. Beyond observing the incongruous character of the integration discourse, the article unpacks the ways in which this framing fulfils a specific function within the broader setup of migration control and the gendered modalities of migrant governance on a daily basis. The article argues that life in the CETI presents the fundamental characteristics of an existence inscribed within a total institution, implying the use of discipline as a technology of power and a structure of relations based on deference, in the specific guise of residents’ condition as ‘subjects to be integrated’. Furthermore, the article identifies three forms of dispossession – material, role and time-related – carried out against the background of a fictional integration, each bringing its share of gendered implications. This article draws on fieldwork conducted in Melilla over three months, with regular visits to the CETI that entailed participant observation inside the Centre as well as semi-structured interviews with migrant women on the one hand, and social, healthcare, and administrative workers on the other.

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Margunn Bjørnholt

The social dynamics of revictimization and intimate partner violence: an embodied, gendered, institutional and life course perspective

Margunn Bjørnholt (2019): The social dynamics of revictimization and intimate partner violence: an embodied, gendered, institutional and life course perspective, Nordic Journal of Criminology, DOI: 10.1080/14043858.2019.1568103

This article offers a qualitative, institutional analysis of the dynamics of revictimization as the accumulation of disadvantages over time and across different institutional contexts, and its multiple gender dimensions. It draws on 37 qualitative interviews with victims of intimate partner violence, detailing the institutional causal pathways to victimization and revictimization over the life course, through the in-depth analysis of one case. Drawing on the vulnerability approach, developed by Martha Albertson Fineman, the analysis demonstrates how victimization and revictimization have been facilitated, tolerated, and even produced by particular institutional contexts, illustrating how the risk of revictimization is not a characteristic of the individual, nor is it destiny. The article contributes to a constructive social science, elucidating how victimization is contingent on social and institutional contexts, and how at several critical points, better institutions and better institutional responses to particular events might have prevented or interrupted the dynamics of accumulating victimization. Focusing on embodied, gendered subjects and the role of institutions in producing as well as remedying inequalities has far-reaching implications for research and prevention of violence. In contrast to a risk-factor approach targeting particular groups and individuals, a vulnerability analysis calls for a responsive state and universal institutional solutions.

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Vanessa Grotti, Cynthia Malakasis, Chiara Quagliariello, Nina Sahraoui

Shifting vulnerabilities: gender and reproductive care on the migrant trail to Europe

Grotti, V., Malakasis, C., Quagliariello, C. et al. Shifting vulnerabilities: gender and reproductive care on the migrant trail to Europe. CMS 6, 23 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40878-018-0089-z

The reproductive care of pregnant migrants entering the European Union via its Mediterranean borders represents an under-examined topic, despite a growing scholarly emphasis on female migrants and the gendered aspects of migration in the past three decades. This article uses ethnographic data gathered in Greece, Italy, and Spain to examine pregnant migrants’ experiences of crossing, first reception, and reproductive care. We discuss our findings through the conceptual lens of vulnerability, which we understand as a shifting and relational condition attributed to, or dynamically endorsed by, migrant patients within given social contexts and encounters. We focus on two principal aspects of migrant women’s experiences. First, we shed light on their profiles, their journeys to Europe via the three main Mediterranean routes, and the conditions of first reception. Through ethnographic vignettes we examine the diverse ways in which pregnant migrants become vulnerable within these contexts. Second, we turn to the reproductive healthcare they receive in EU borderlands. We explore how declinations of ideas of vulnerability shape the medical encounter between healthcare professionals and migrant women and how vulnerability is dynamically used or contested by migrant patients to engage in meaningful social relations in unpredictable and unstable borderlands.

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Jane Freedman

Violences de genre et « crise » des réfugié·e·s en Europe

Jane Freedman, « Violences de genre et « crise » des réfugié·e·s en Europe », Mouvements 2018/1 (n° 93), p. 60-65. DOI 10.3917/mouv.093.0060

En 2015 plus d’un million de réfugié·e·s sont arrivé·e·s en Europe, fuyant des guerres, des conflits et des violences dans leurs pays d’origine. Le nombre d’arrivées actuelles dans l’Union européenne a diminué, mais il y en a toujours des milliers de personnes qui tentent chaque jour de rejoindre l’Europe, et des milliers qui périssent en mer en essayant d’y arriver. Cette augmentation du nombre de réfugié·e·s arrivant en Europe depuis quelques années a mené certains à parler d’une « crise » des réfugié·e·s ou une « crise » migratoire. Mais nous pourrions plutôt décrire une « crise » des politiques de l’Union européenne en ce que les instances de décisions politiques tant au niveau régional qu’au niveau national n’ont pas réussi à trouver une solution permettant d’offrir une protection adéquate à ces personnes cherchant refuge. La notion de « crise » a été évoquée par des dirigeants politiques pour justifier et légitimer un contrôle des frontières encore plus accru, et dans certains cas des fermetures complètes des frontières sur les routes des réfugié·e·s. Justifiés par la nécessité d’assurer la « sécurité » des pays et des populations européennes, ces contrôles ont des impacts extrêmement négatifs sur la sécurité des personnes qui essayent de trouver une protection en Europe, avec des conséquences particulièrement importantes pour les femmes réfugiées, et un impact sur les expériences de violences vécues par ces femmes.

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