Gender Matters: Ethnographers Bring Gender from the Periphery toward the Core of Migration Studies


Mahler, Sarah J., and Patricia R. Pessar. 2006. “Gender Matters: Ethnographers Bring Gender from the Periphery toward the Core of Migration Studies.” International Migration Review 40 (1): 27–63.

Authors: Sarah J. Mahler, Patricia R. Pessar


Ethnographers from anthropology, sociology, and other disciplines have been at the forefront of efforts to bring gender into scholarship on international and transnational migration. This article traces the long and often arduous history of these scholars’ efforts, arguing that though gender is now less rarely treated merely as a variable in social science writing on migration, it is still not viewed by most researchers in the field as a key constitutive element of migrations. The article highlights critical advances in the labor to engender migration studies, identifies under-researched topics, and argues that there have been opportunities when, had gender been construed as a critical force shaping migrations, the course of research likely would have shifted. The main example developed is the inattention paid to how gendered recruitment practices structure migrations – the fact that gender sways recruiters’ conceptions of appropriate employment niches for men versus women.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Livelihoods

Year: 2006

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