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date: 27 September 2023

Gender, Mobility, and Displacement: From the Shadows to Questioning Binarieslocked

Gender, Mobility, and Displacement: From the Shadows to Questioning Binarieslocked

  • Deniz SertDeniz SertDepartment of International Relations, Özyeğin University
  •  and Fulya Felicity TurkmenFulya Felicity TurkmenPolitical Science Department, University of California, Riverside


The evolution of the construction of gender in migration studies can be appraised under several distinct headings. In the beginning, women were simply “in the shadows” with no recognition of them as potential or actual migrants. Eventually, the field moved to an “add women, mix, and stir” approach, which saw women recognized in migration studies and statistics for the first time. Here, gender was no more than a demographic category to ensure women were counted alongside men in migration flows. However, deconstructing the feminization of migration required that gender be understood as integral to the experience of migration, thus demanding more refined theoretical and analytical tools. Subsequently, migration intersected with masculinity studies, which showed the reciprocal relation where masculinity can be decisive in migratory decision making, and in return, mobility can be an essential factor in how men think about masculinity. More recently, gender in migration studies has moved beyond binary gender roles. Research on the lived experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) refugees and asylum seekers demonstrates the importance of the relationship between sexual orientation, gender identity, and identity construction in navigating migration journeys beyond the male-female binary. This raises the question of how salient this development is for international studies. While the disciplines of political science and international relations were rather late to the study of international migration, migrants and refugees have become issues of high politics in the early 21st century. Thus, there is a need to revisit and revise how different disciplines intersect in the interest of more effective policymaking based on better data.


  • Politics and Sexuality and Gender

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