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The Complex Interconnections of the Migration-Development Nexus: A Social Perspective


Piper, Nicola. 2009. “The Complex Interconnections of the Migration-Development Nexus: A Social Perspective.” Population, Space and Place 15 (2): 93–101.

Author: Nicola Piper


The contributions to this Special Issue focus on marginalised and neglected social issues associated with the migration–development nexus. It reports research on specific groups of migrants who have so far been left out of the current debate on the relationship between migration and development. This debate has tended to be dominated by structural and economic concerns. The ultimate aim of the special issue is therefore to unsettle the terms of the discussion by placing migrants and their experiences as knowledge producers (along with a range of other actors) at the centre of the debate. The complex interconnections between migration and development in the so-called ‘North’ and ‘South’ demand that a notion of development be adopted that goes beyond the dichotomy of ‘developed’ versus ‘less developed’ countries, and that leads to an understanding of development processes that occur simultaneously in different places interconnected by migration. This requires the rethinking of the parameters and paradigms that dominate the revived debate on the relationship between international migration and development. A new vocabulary for describing and analysing these complex interlinkages is required, and the notion of ‘global chains’ is suggested here as a starting point.

Keywords: international migration, development

Topics: Development, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Globalization

Year: 2009

Transnational Migration: Bringing Gender in


Pessar, Patricia R., and Sarah J. Mahler. 2003. “Transnational Migration: Bringing Gender in.” International Migration Review 37 (3): 812–46.

Authors: Patricia R. Pessar, Sarah J. Mahler


This article aims to bring gender into an even tighter transnational migration focus by broadening and deepening our original framework of "gendered geographies of power," linking it more directly to existing and emerging scholarship. We examine and highlight previously neglected areas such as the role of the state and the social imaginary in gendering transnational processes and experiences. We identify topics that remain under-appreciated, under-researched, and/or under-theorized. Finally, we initiate a discussion of how a gendered analysis of transnational migration can help bridge this particular research to other gendered transnational processes under study that do not privilege migration.

Keywords: transnational migration, gender analysis

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Gender Analysis, Gendered Power Relations

Year: 2003

Migration and Relationship Power among Mexican Women


Parrado, Emilio A., Chenoa A. Flippen, and Chris McQuiston. 2005. “Migration and Relationship Power among Mexican Women.” Demography 42 (2): 347–72.

Authors: Emilio A. Parrado, Chenoa A. Flippen, Chris McQuiston


Our study drew on original data collected in Durham, NC, and four sending communities in Mexico to examine differences in women’s relationship power that are associated with migration and residence in the United States. We analyzed the personal, relationship, and social resources that condition the association between migration and women’s power and the usefulness of the Relationship Control Scale (RCS) for capturing these effects. We found support for perspectives that emphasize that migration may simultaneously mitigate and reinforce gender inequities. Relative to their nonmigrant peers, Mexican women in the United States average higher emotional consonance with their partners, but lower relationship control and sexual negotiation power. Methodologically, we found that the RCS is internally valid and useful for measuring the impact of resources on women’s power. However, the scale appears to combine diverse dimensions of relationship power that were differentially related to migration in our study.

Keywords: gender relations, gender inequality

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Gender Equity Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico, United States of America

Year: 2005

Migration and Gender among Mexican Women


Parrado, Emilio A., and Chenoa A. Flippen. 2005. “Migration and Gender among Mexican Women.” American Sociological Review 70 (4): 606–32.

Authors: Emilio A. Parrado, Chenoa A. Flippen


Despite their importance to women's empowerment and migrant adaptation more generally, the social and cultural processes that determine how gender relations and expectations evolve during the process of migration remain poorly understood. In this article, data from a survey conducted in Durham, North Carolina and four sending communities in Mexico are used to examine how the structures of labor, power, and emotional attachments within the family vary by migration and U.S. residency, women's human capital endowments, household characteristics, and social support. Using both quantitative and qualitative information, the main finding of the study is that the association between migration and gender relations is not uniform across different gender dimensions. The reconstruction of gender relations within the family at the place of destination is a dynamic process in which some elements brought from communities of origin are discarded, others are modified, and still others are reinforced. Results challenge the expectation that migrant women easily incorporate the behavior patterns and cultural values of the United States and illustrate the importance of selective assimilation for understanding the diversity of changes in gender relations that accompany migration.

Keywords: empowerment, gender relations, assimilation

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Households Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico, United States of America

Year: 2005

The Transformation of Gender Roles in Migration


Nash, June C. 1999. "The Transformation of Gender Roles in Migration." Working Paper 24, Chicano/Latino Research Center, Merrill College, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA.

Author: June C. Nash

Topics: Class, Displacement & Migration, Migration, Ethnicity, Gender, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Households, Livelihoods, Race

Year: 1999

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

Reframing the Migration Question: an Analysis of Men, Women, and Gender in Mexico


Kanaiaupuni, Shawn M. 2000. “Reframing the Migration Question: an Analysis of Men, Women, and Gender in Mexico.” Social Forces 78 (4): 1311-47.

Author: Shawn M. Kanaiaupuni


The migration literature agrees on several key factors that motivate individual decisions to move: human capital investments, socioeconomic status, familial considerations, social networks, and local opportunities in places of origin relative to opportunities abroad. Yet further analysis of the social forces underlying these relationships reveals interwoven gender relations and expectations that fundamentally differentiate migration patterns, in particular who migrates and why Data analysis of 14,000 individuals in 43 Mexican villages reveals several mechanisms through which the effects of gender play out in the migration process. Results suggest that migrant networks provide support to new men and women migrants alike, whereas high female employment rates reduce the likelihood that men, but not women, begin migrating. Education effects also emphasize the importance of examining gender differences. In keeping with the literature on Mexican migration, I find that men are negatively selected to migrate, but, conversely, that higher education increases migration among women. My findings also question the narrow portrayal of women as associational migrants that follow spouses, disclosing much greater chances of family separation than reunification among migrants' wives and significantly higher migration risks for single and previously married women than married women.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Livelihoods Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico

Year: 2000

Cultural Responses to Changing Gender Patterns of Migration in Georgia


Hofmann, Erin Trouth and Cynthia J. Buckley. 2011. “Cultural Responses to Changing Gender Patterns of Migration in Georgia.” International Migration 50 (5): 77-94.

Authors: Erin Trouth Hofmann, Cynthia J. Buckley


In this paper, we explore how individual women cope with the tensions between economic forces encouraging temporary labour migration and cultural norms tying “proper” women to their homes and families. Combining in-depth interviews with returned migrant women in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi with secondary migration data for the region, we illustrate the recent increases in Georgian women’s participation in international labour migration. Deteriorating economic conditions in Georgia leave women with few local opportunities to financially support their families, while institutional changes have altered the accessibility and attractiveness of international destinations, leading to increasing motivations and opportunities for women’s migration. Focusing on the contradictions between growing female migration and persistent adherence to cultural norms stigmatizing migration in Georgia, we explore the cognitive strategies migrant women employ in an attempt to balance internalized perceptions of acceptable gendered behaviour with their migration choices. Two key pathways of adaptation emerge: framing migration as a necessity rather than a choice and stressing the unique and individually exceptional nature of their own migration experience. We posit that these strategies may serve to limit the norm-challenging nature of women’s migration in Georgia. Although migration is often described as an empowering experience for women, if women migrants work to present their migration in a way that fits within the bounds of traditional gender norms, these norms may be strengthened rather than challenged.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Economies, Gender, Women, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, Central Asia, Europe, South Caucasus Countries: Georgia

Year: 2011

Gender and Agency in Migration Decision-Making: Evidence from Vietnam


Hoang L.A. 2011. “Gender and Agency in Migration Decision-Making: Evidence from Vietnam.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37 (9): 1441-57.

Author: L. A. Hoang


This paper examines the influences of gender as an identity on an individual's ability to exercise agency in decision-making about internal migration in Vietnam. Women and men exert agency with reference to prevailing social norms in order to negotiate for or against their own migration and that of others. It has been well recognised that, beyond sex, their specific gender identity as mothers or fathers, daughters or sons, husbands or wives, etc. impacts on who can migrate for what kind of work. However, this study explores the more neglected ways in which gender structures migration. While my findings show that decision-making about migration was overwhelmingly consensual in nature, this did not necessarily mean that migration was equally in everyone's best interests. Women's agency around their own migration was in part constrained because they were forced to negotiate for their interests whilst trying to preserve family harmony. While social norms supported men's power to make unilateral decisions and while they resorted to powerful threats of divorce to get their own way, this did not prevent wives from resisting unwelcome decisions by ‘passive' means. The paper deepens feminist insights into the ways in which migration is gendered.

Keywords: identity, internal migration, agency, feminist, gender identity, social norms, Vietnam, migration decision-making

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Feminisms, Gender, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Vietnam

Year: 2011

The Role of Emotions in the Construction of Masculinity: Guatemalan Migrant Men, Transnational Migration, and Family Relations


Montes, Veronica. 2013. “The Role of Emotions in the Construction of Masculinity: Guatemalan Migrant Men, Transnational Migration, and Family Relations.” Gender & Society 27 (4): 469-90. doi:10.1177/0891243212470491.

Author: Veronica Montes


This article examines how migration contributes to the plurality of masculinities among Guatemalan men, particularly among migrant men and their families. I argue that migration offers an opportunity to men, both migrant and nonmigrant, to reflect on their emotional relations with distinct family members, and show how, by engaging in this reflexivity, these men also have the opportunity to vent those emotions in a way that offsets some of the negative traits associated to a hegemonic masculinity, such as being unemotional, nonnurturing, aggressive, and dispassionate. This study contributes to transnational migration studies in three ways: (1) by examining the more personal and emotional side of transnational life, (2) by examining ways in which men step away from culturally expected hegemonic masculine identity, and (3) by providing an empirical study of subaltern masculinities, particularly among transnational immigrant men. Drawing on multi-sited, in-depth interviews conducted in Guatemala and California, my research contributes to our understanding of the emotional costs of transnational migration for migrants and their families, particularly for men, by examining the interplay among gender, family, and transnational migration.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Migration, Gender, Men, Masculinity/ies, Households Regions: Americas, Central America Countries: Guatemala

Year: 2013


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