The Reconfiguration of European Boundaries and Borders: Cross-border Marriages from the Perspective of Spouses in Sri Lanka
2020-6-30, Jashari, Shpresa, Dahinden, Janine, Moret, Joëlle
Cross-border marriages between citizens with a migration background and spouses from non-EU countries have been politicised and restricted across Europe. This article simultaneously applies the analytical lenses of bordering and boundary work to this issue and de-centres the perspective by investigating the consequences of these restrictions not on Europe, but on a country of origin – Sri Lanka. We show that a particular symbolic boundary against cross-border marriages in European countries legitimises the externalisation of borders to the country of origin. This has important consequences for the female spouses before they even begin their journey to Europe: it challenges their life aspirations, enhances their economic dependency and precarity and directly impacts the marriage system in Sri Lanka. We argue that this situation creates a form of neo-colonial governmentality that perpetuates historically established forms of Western politics of belonging.
The path of Somali refugees into exile: a comparative analysis of secondary movements and policy responses
2006, Moret, Joëlle, Baglioni, Simone, Efionayi-Mäder, Denise
Somalis have been leaving their country for the last fifteen years, fleeing civil war, difficult economic conditions, drought and famine, and now constitute one of the largest diasporas in the world. Organized in the framework of collaboration between UNHCR and different countries, this research focuses on the secondary movements of Somali refugees. It was carried out as a multi-sited project in the following countries: Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland and Yemen. The report provides a detailed insight into the movements of Somali refugees that is, their trajectories, the different stages in their migra-tion history and their underlying motivations. It also gives a compara-tive overview of different protection regimes and practices.
« Be a real man ! » Hegemonic Masculinities in a Swiss vocational school : boundary work between gender and social position in the labour market
2012, Moret, Joëlle, Dahinden, Janine, Duemmler, Kerstin
Using ethnographic material, this article analyzes the processes at work in the construction of valued masculinity among young men in a Swiss vocational school. By adopting a theoretical boundary-making approach, we argue that double boundary work takes place in order to assert a specific form of hegemonic masculinity as the only legitimate way to be “a real man”. First, young men in the school draw symbolic boundaries between themselves as hard-working, tough, heterosexual, economically responsible men on one side, and effeminate, intellectual, lazy, despicable men on the other. A second boundary is drawn towards women, relying on a specifically constructed form of femininity and institutionalized gender boundaries, where women are depicted as dependant wives whose daily activities have little value. These processes are analyzed as a strategy used by these young men to counter a socially disadvantaged position on the labour market and in the society in general. Yet, the valorization of the masculine nature of their working identity has social consequences as they contribute to reproducing unequal gender hierarchies.
Contesting categories: cross-border marriages from the perspectives of the state, spouses and researchers
2019-7-17, Moret, Joëlle, Andrikopoulos, Apostolos, Dahinden, Janine
Marriages that involve the migration of at least one of the spouses challenge two intersecting facets of the politics of belonging: the making of the ‘good and legitimate citizens’ and the ‘acceptable family’. In Europe, cross-border marriages have been the target of increasing state controls, an issue of public concern and the object of scholarly research. The study of cross-border marriages and the ways these marriages are framed is inevitably affected by states’ concerns and priorities. There is a need for a reflexive assessment of how the categories employed by state institutions and agents have impacted the study of cross-border marriages. The introduction to this Special Issue analyses what is at stake in the regulation of cross-border marriages and how European states use particular categories (e.g. ‘sham’, ‘forced’ and ‘mixed’ marriages) to differentiate between acceptable and non-acceptable marriages. When researchers use these categories unreflexively, they risk reproducing nation-centred epistemologies and reinforcing state-informed hierarchies and forms of exclusion. We suggest ways to avoid these pitfalls: differentiating between categories of analysis and categories of practice, adopting methodologies that do not mirror nation-states’ logic and engaging with general social theory outside migration studies. The empirical contributions of the Special Issue offer new insights into a timely topic.
Disentangling Religious, Ethnic and Gendered Contents in Boundary Work: How Young Adults Create the Figure of ‘The Oppressed Muslim Woman’
2014, Dahinden, Janine, Duemmler, Kerstin, Moret, Joëlle
The binary opposition between ‘equal European women’ and ‘oppressed Muslim women’ has become a powerful representation in Switzerland and throughout Europe. Yet little is empirically known about the mechanisms through which actors in their everyday lives (re)produce this prominent construction. In this mixed-method study with young adults in a French-speaking Swiss Canton, we explore how and on behalf of which markers they construct such a bright boundary against ‘the oppressed Muslim woman’. We argue that the Swiss tradition of ethicising and culturalising migrant issues is relevant for the construction of the boundary against Muslims in a way that renders ethnicity salient. However, when it comes to the concrete markers of the boundary – the ‘cultural stuff’ mobilised by the young people to mark the boundary – the local highly secular context has the paradoxical effect that religious contents become more salient than ethnicity. Normative ideas about ‘gender equality’, in contrast, cross both ethnic and religious markers in the same way. We argue that although ethnicity, religion and gender have commonalities in terms of categories of identification and exclusion, they should be treated as different elements when it comes to the social organisation of difference because each of them displays a specific logic.