Gender Relations in a Refugee Camp: A Case of Chechens Seeking Asylum in the Czech Republic


Szczepanikova, Alice. 2005. “Gender Relations in a Refugee Camp: A Case of Chechens Seeking Asylum in the Czech Republic.” Journal of Refugee Studies 18 (3): 281–98.

Author: Alice Szczepanikova


This article aims to give an account of how refugees’ family relations are constructed in exile. It is based on fieldwork conducted among Chechen asylum seekers living in a refugee camp in the Czech Republic in April 2004. It argues that although traditional norms defining women’s and men’s position in Chechen families have often been transgressed in the actual experiences of men and women in situations of emergency such as war, flight and life in the camp, they remain relatively unchanged at the level of refugees’ ideal notions of femininity and masculinity. It also shows that the environment of the refugee camp provides, on the one hand, some opportunities for the increase of women’s power in the family and men’s involvement in childcare and household duties. But on the other hand, the assistance in the camp is based on an undiversified and gender-blind perception and construction of refugees as passive objects of aid, and latently sustains gendered violence.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Households, Humanitarian Assistance Regions: Asia, Europe, Central Europe Countries: Czech Republic, Russian Federation

Year: 2005

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