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Revisiting Gender in the Analysis of Transnational Migrations: Proposals based on Anthropological Theory and Ethnographyi. Carmen Gregorio Gil. Literature on gender and international migrationii -both of national and international scope - is recentiii yet very diffuse. This is certainly due to the progressive implementation of gender and feminist studies in the Academy and the influence of “The Wide Movement of the Women” on a global leveliv. Feminist approaches put forward categories of analysi
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  Revisiting Gender in the Analysis of Transnational Migrations: Proposalsbased on Anthropological Theory and Ethnography i .Carmen Gregorio Gil. Literature on gender and international migration ii -both of national andinternational scope - is recent iii yet very diffuse. This is certainly due to theprogressive implementation of gender and feminist studies in the Academy andthe influence of “The Wide Movement of the Women” on a global level iv .Feminist approaches put forward categories of analysis that aim to restorewomen’s agency and the situation of those women who -as world citizens-cross borders of a physical and increasingly fortified metaphorical nature, arecontributing to the view of international migrations as something to do with men:the problem of “immigrant workers and their families”. At present, most issuesrelated to international migrations such as transnationalism, globalization,ethnicity, development, integration, identity, cultural rights, multiculturalism,cultural change, health, or the labour market(to mention just a few) make a special reference to immigrant women andgender relations in a certain way. There are several monographs on thesubject with a clear aim to address theories on migration. This is pointed out byHondagneu-Sotelo in his conference, eloquently entitled “Gendering Migration:Not for “Feminists only” – And not Only in the Household” referring to some of the essays in the volume “Gender and U.S Immigration: Contemporary Trends”“ Gender is one of the fundamental social relations anchoring and shaping immigration patterns, and immigration is one of the most powerful forcesdisrupting and realigning everyday life”  published in the year 2003. (2005:2).We should congratulate ourselves on the fact that gender seems to beeverywhere now and this category of analysis has banished the determinacy of “belonging to women , a problem that marginalised compilations of papersrelated to gender issues in the 80s: “International Migration. The FemaleExperiencia” by Simon & Brettell (1986) or “Women in the cities of Asia.Migration and Urban adaptation” by Faccett, Khoo y Smith (1984) or the specialissue of  International Migration Review  “Women and Migration” from 1984. i   I wish to thank Txemi Apaolaza, Maggi Bullen, Begoña Pecharromán, Carmen Díez,Herminia Gonzalvez, Maria Espinosa, Ana Alcazar, y Ana Rodríguez for reading andcommenting on this paper ‘s first draft as well as Teresa del Valle for encouraging meto return to this subject of analysis. ii I use the term migration - not immigration or emigration- as I wish to include the fieldof studies that analyse migratory processes without necessarily prioritizing the contextof the receiving countries or the countries of srcin. Therefore, I am referring to thosepapers focused on immigrant population in the context of reception, in societies of srcin in connection with problems of development and change, as well as those whichincorporate both contexts or their dissolution from the so-called transnationalperspective. iii We observe production of a significant corpus of literature on the subject with anational scope towards the end of the 90s; and with an international scope in the early80s (Gregorio Gil 2007). iv Following Vargas (1991:195), Maquieira suggests the category ‘wide movement of the women’ as the new theoretical and practical space to refer to a movement whosepresence –together with other social movements- fractures old paradigms of politicalaction and social sciences, questioning the discursive and political centrality of theunified woman subject.  Thus, based upon transnationalism, as one of the newest and most productivetheoretical and methodological approaches of the last two decades, Pessar andMahler (2001) argue: “ The task of bringing gender to a transnational  perspective on migration was taken up by us (Patricia Pessar and SarahMahler) back in 1996 culminating in a special volume of the journal Identities:Global Studies in Culture and Power published in April 2001 ” (2001:4)In the early 90s, it was mandatory to travel beyond our borders, if one were totrack down on bibliographical sources, because at the time those papersavailable in Spain could hardly be counted on the fingers of one’s hand. Now,13 years later, I come back to this field of theorization coinciding with theresearch project “SEJ2005-06393 Inequalities in the context of globalization:Care, affections and sexuality” funded by the National Plan for Research,Development and technological research of the University and Research EstateSecretary, and face a substantially different situation. During the years 1991-1996, while I was carrying out my doctoral thesis, I conducted thoroughresearch on papers dealing with the connection between gender andimmigration v . Monographs on the subject where practically inexistent at thetime, and only a small number of female authors from English-speakingUniversities – and who were mainly working in the context of Latin-America andAsian and, to a lesser extend, Africa - were beginning to stand out for their approach to migrations, based on women or gender. However, gender was stillnot seen as the main principle of social organization in the understanding of migrations vi .Therefore, I must admit I was overwhelmed by the huge amount of scholarly literature I came across when returning to this field of theorization.However, it did not totally surprise me, considering its political and socialrelevance, as well as the large demand from Institutions. This is undoubtedlythe result of combining two issues like women and immigration or gender relations and international migrations worldwide throughout the last decade.There are concerns arising from many reports by the international organizationsaddressing the issue, such as The United Nations Population Fund (UNPF)Annual Report from 1978: “A Passage to Hope: Women and InternationalMigration” in the year 2006, or Amnesty International’s report: “More risks andless protection: Immigrant women in Spain against gender violence” fromNovember 2007. Violence and traffic in women   for    sexual exploitation are in theagendas of those organizations that advocate for immigrant women’s humanrights.It is in the 90s that the first Spanish research papers come into view, coincidingwith the arrival of non-EU migrant population, as this issue is perceived as a“problem” -both as a socio-political problem as well as an area of research.From the beginning of the 90s to the present time, scholarly literature in thisfield has been widely available in a wide range of disciplines. There arehundreds of books on the subject, as well as journals and specializedmonographs, documentation centres, institutionalization of national, regional,provincial, and local congresses; there are research groups and Institutes in v   See Gregorio Gil (1996, 1997) vi See Gregorio &Franzés(1999) for a critical analysis of proposals with a gender approach which draws on the dominant theories on migrations in those years –dependence, modernization, and articulation- and the now emerging transnationaltheory.  several Universities and funding specifically allocated for research and lecturingprogrammes. Regarding Anthropology, its emergence may be explained by itsrole within the field of Social Sciences, where cultural diversity is theorized.With the arrival of immigrant population from outside the EU, assuming theexistence of ‘Us’ and ‘Others’ will be embraced as a dividing border betweenthe ‘Other’, he and the ‘immigrant she’. The ‘Other’ will be “enlightened” andtherefore required to be known of, as well as being controlled from a position of power from which they will be perceived vii . Not surprisingly, institutional demandfrom social anthropology has been focussing on issues related to the so-called‘intercultural mediation’ viii , or dealing with cultural diversity within different fields:health, education, housing, violence, social services,associationism,andwomen ix .Scholarly literature and research in Social Sciences throughout the past twodecades is immeasurable. However, in agreement with Enrique Santamaría(2008:8), we notice a “blatant epistemological neglect”. But if we read some of these papers – either published or presented at congresses – and, above all,when we observe theindubitablenessof some of the assumptions made by mystudents on doctoral programmes at the University of Granada, we certainly feelthe need for epistemological reflection, from our position as responsible andcommitted lecturers and researchers. The lack of theoretical andmethodological reflection when it comes to the building of problems, makingmore than a few assumptions and asserting categorical truths, as well as thescarcity of contextualized ethnographical data are commonplace. Paperswritten on social anthropology end up broadly describing certain cultural traits of particular groups only characterised by their national origins (Peruvian,Moroccan, Colombian, Russian…) in particular locations (Madrid, Huelva,Barcelona, Totana, El Ejido…). As Danielle Provansal points out when sherefers to the excessive generalisation found in papers on immigrant women:“Though some papers focus on the role of women as social actors and their ability to undertake initiatives, these claims are not always based on convincingillustrations, but rather on details, revealing a lack of fieldwork (2008:342).I feel the need to contribute to this reflection in social anthropology, taking a“ questioning approach, critical of the widest knowledge trensin social  vii See Gregorio & Franzé (1999) for a critical analysis of the other’s cultural buildingprocess from public instances intervening in migratory issues. viii Some examples are the Intercultural Mediation Service offered to the local council of Madrid by the department of social anthropology at the capital’s Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, and the postgraduate Diploma and Master of Arts in Intercultural Mediationorganized by the department of social anthropology at the University of Granada ondemand by the Junta de Andalucía (Andalusian Regional Council) ix As a social anthropologist, I conducted two projects on social intervention for theSocial Services Department of Madrid’s local council at the time when plans andprojects of integration aimed at the immigrant population were beginning to emerge in1994-1997. These two projects were “The Intercultural Communitarian Office (OCI). Aproject of social intervention with the immigrant population of Aravaca-Moncloa” andthe “Project for the prevention and insertion of immigrant’s and other families’ childrenin the Centre and Aganzuela areas”. I also participated in the designing of the Plan for the social integration of immigrant population at Parla’s Local Council, developing the“Research and Action on the immigrant collective of the town of Parla”.  anthropology fed on feminist theory and practice”  (Gregorio 2002:5). Thisapproach places gender relations as a principle of social organization andhierarchization and forces us to reformulate and subvert anthropological theoryand ethnographic practice.Departing from two axes of theorization to which contributions from feministcritique within Social Anthropology have been decisive and whose applicabilityto the field of migratory studies must be revisited: social reproduction andsocial change. Showing how social reproduction is settled in gender in the same way as other inequalities and the fact that these are not immutable is still part of our feministendeavour. It is our aim as anthropologists to do so from an ethnographicperspective, even when this approach may not meet the demand fromInstitutions whose funds for our research we are dependant on after all. Thepath I intend to follow within the field of migratory studies leads me to redefining the category of social reproduction in all of its questioning potential, and toreinstating the value of  Ethnography as able to show the processes throughwhich differentiations are made in a contextualized way as well as the multiplesignifications of social practices. I will suggest we elaborate conceptual andmethodological proposals so as to overcome the dichotomiesproduction/reproduction, public/private, man/woman and through which we maybe able to show not only how gender is constructed, but also race, ethnicity,kinship, culture and other social distinctions assumed as pre-existing realities inour theoretical and epistemological frameworks. Unfortunately, Emic  categories-only with a few exceptions- are rarely present in research papers, as they areengulfed by our apparent need to generalize conclusions -'most people think','the reproductive behaviour of Peruvian women', 'foreign women employed inhousehold services’…- in a field of study which arises coupled with the demandfrom Public Institutions and is at issue in various disciplines of scientificknowledge.The aim of this paper is twofold: first, I will look into the conceptualization of thecategory of social reproduction and how it is dealt with in the field of migratorystudies; and secondly, I will address one of most exciting issues to those of usapproaching this field from the gender studies perspective: the change ingender relations, understood as a result of women’s international travelling. Gender Inequalities and social reproduction I would like to problematize on the use of the category of social reproduction,because I see its questioning potential minimized by some papers. Apparently,this is due to the difficulties involved in overcoming the analytical dichotomies of production/reproduction “marketplace/household” “public/domestic” and “thegender system of the society of srcin/ gender system of the receiving society”,“man/woman”. Thus, for example, ethnographic papers of a transnationalapproach, in their attempt to overcome the dichotomy country of srcin/countryof destination, focus on the so-called “transnational practices” of immigrantpopulation but naturalize the categories of “woman=biological mother” and“family=biological kinship”, as I will illustrate. For their part, those studies that
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