Goal 5: Gender Equality

SDG 5 aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Browse books and journal articles relating to this SDG below and find out more on the UN Sustainable Development Goals website.
 

Goal 5: Gender Equality

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Given the mutual interrelatedness of migrants’ journeys and state control practices, the concluding chapter revisits the question of how we can theorise migrants’ agency in the face of an increasingly repressive migration regime. It asks what we can conclude from the incompleteness of migration control for its effects on individual migrants. It is argued that a long-term perspective on border struggles, on the one hand, reveals how migrants’ endurance causes disruptions to the smooth implementation of laws. On the other hand, states react to this endurance by installing new measures, attempting to turn migrants’ endurance into exhaustion by continuously interrupting their journeys and above all, their aspirations. Rather than celebrating migrants’ resistance and their ability to navigate a repressive migration regime, the chapter concludes that the long-term precarity suffered by migrants is often normalised and rendered invisible. Therefore, we need to find new ways to identify and account for the hidden and silent forms of state violence that result from neglect and indifference to the precarious living conditions that marginalised migrants must endure.

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This chapter follows Walid, one of my principal interlocutors, as he navigates Europe’s legal maze and is repeatedly deported within Europe according to the Dublin Regulation. Readers are introduced to migrants’ cyclic experiences of legal procedures and the exhaustion the latter generate for marginalised migrants. The chapter introduces relevant information on migration policies and the context in which contestations and encounters among migrants, state and non-state actors take place. It demonstrates the relevance of supranational laws (such as the Dublin Regulation or the Geneva Refugee Convention) as well as national and regional law implementation (such as regularisation schemes or reception conditions). The chapter further highlights how migrants both seek the support of the state and keep it at arm’s length. Along their trajectories, individuals move in and out of the visibility of the state as they enter legal procedures, such as asylum or regularisation procedures, or as they go into hiding to avoid detention or deportation. Thus, the chapter provides a first account of the dialectic of migrant agency and the migration regime, which this book is all about.

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This chapter introduces the themes and concepts presented and discussed in this book. In order to capture migrants’ complex journeys through Europe that are the focus of this study, it is helpful to build on a migration regime perspective that goes beyond a state-centred approach and understands migrants, state actors and non-state actors as intertwined forces and as co-constitutive of migration governance. Focusing on migrants’ navigation of the migration regime, the chapter provides an initial conceptualisation of migrants’ agency and proposes to focus on the tactics used by individuals to appropriate or circumvent states’ repressive control attempts. Finally, the chapter offers information and a reflection on how multi-sited ethnography, considering both moments of mobility and immobility in the lives of the book’s protagonists, has informed the research.

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This chapter explores how male migrants with a precarious legal status confront gendered, racialised and classed discourses that variously portray them as potentially dangerous or criminal, but also, at times, as victims without agency. The protagonists of this book have to navigate such stereotypes – often characterised by anti-Muslim sentiments and colonial underpinnings – using different tactics, for instance distancing themselves from negative images and creating new representations for themselves. Bridging the literature on migrants’ ‘deservingness’ with work on the social construction of migrant masculinities, the chapter examines the production of the ‘undeserving other’ and its impact on migrants with a precarious legal status from an intersectional perspective. It demonstrates that the frequent denial of men’s vulnerability can lead to male-specific vulnerabilities.

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Many migrants with a precarious legal status are highly mobile within Europe and beyond. This chapter underlines the ambiguous nature of mobility as both a resource for migrants to bypass migration control and an obstacle to the pursuit of their personal interests. On the one hand, migrants navigate and subvert migration and border control through exhibiting a high degree of mobility. On the other hand, they suffer from not being able to settle down. Migration control is enacted both through state strategies of enforced mobility (as in the case of deportations) and strategies of immobilisation (as when migrants are detained or prohibited from moving on to other European countries). For instance, policies such as the Dublin Regulation contribute to both preventing and forcing migrants’ mobility. The protagonists of this book are basically deprived of the ability to lead a sedentary lifestyle and can find themselves ‘stuck in mobility’. Applying a mobilities perspective, this chapter makes an argument for the need to theorise the downsides of mobility that have so far been rather neglected in literature.

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Male Migrants, Interrupted Journeys and Precarious Lives
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Amid the heavy politicisation and problematisation of male migrants in Europe, this ethnographic study casts new light on their experiences, struggles and everyday resistance.

The author follows the journeys of those who seek, but have little hope of achieving, permanent residence status in European countries, tracking their successive migrations, detentions and deportations within and beyond the continent. She explores migrants’ tactics, the impact of precarity on their lives and the dual feelings of enduring hope and powerless vulnerability they experience.

This is a sensitive and insightful analysis of how the European migration regime shapes, and is shaped by, migrants’ practices.

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This chapter disentangles migrants’ ambivalent relationship with the law from a socio-legal perspective on the migration regime. Rather than simply standing ‘before’ the law – and thus outside of it – migrants with a precarious legal status frequently seek to act ‘with the law’ in order to use it to their favour (Ewick and Silbey, 1998). However, they often get caught up and lost within legal procedures when trying to legalise their presence, simultaneously feeling trapped by the law. The chapter conceptualises migrants’ tactics and their legal consciousness as when they use creativity to evade the implementation of certain laws while trying to appropriate other legal frameworks to their advantage. Their tactics can thus both involve practices of avoiding the law (such as eluding states’ law enforcement) or practices of appropriating the law (such as engaging in legal proceedings in the hope of regularisation). Finally, this chapter discusses the issue of marriage, which is one of the last resorts people turn to in order to legalise their presence. The chapter thus zooms into migrants’ navigation of the law and further discusses migrants’ agency at the margins of the state.

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Migrants experience law implementation as highly unpredictable, arbitrary and as a matter of ‘luck’. This chapter draws on Veena Das’ (2004) concept of ‘illegibility’ to explain that the power the state holds partially lies in the difficulty for people to anticipate when and how state authorities strike. Such unpredictability is a result of the complex entanglement of actors and the always provisional and messy nature of migration law implementation and has a highly disempowering effect on migrants. The chapter argues that the unpredictability of law implementation forces migrants to resort to unreliable ‘rumours of rights’ (Eckert, 2012), which help them make decisions and which play a significant role in migrants’ navigation of the uncertainties they encounter within the European migration regime. These rumours transmit relevant information about law implementation or ways to improve their living situation and influence the course of migrants’ journeys. They also hold a subversive force as they produce new hopes and opportunities that help people endure the challenges resulting from their social and legal marginalisation.

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