This week we have narrowed our focus towards a study of the politics of immigration in contemporary Europe, through a gendered perspective. We aim to challenge the orthodoxy within mainstream discourses on immigration/integration, by adopting an intersectional outlook that is sensitive to not only experiences of women as being qualitatively different, but that is also attuned to the differences within the community of women. Indeed, there is a gap between a white christian West European woman’s experience of immigration, in comparison with that of a black muslim Non-European woman.
We ground our analysis in the concept of otherness and aim to begin the conversation by deconstructing contested terms such as Immigration, Integration and Multiculturalism.
Deconstruction of experiences of immigration and the varying gendered differentiation:
- Refugees, forced displacement: women facing gender specific challenges (vulnerability, difficulty of seeking refuge, leaving home country, domestic oppression etc.)
- Legal immigration: gender specific challenges to integration into host country
‘migrant women and men have distinct experiences of membership in the country of immigration, as well as embodying different experiences of citizenship in their countries of origin” (Al-Ali, 2003) → Both the attitude of their orignial cultural background and the receiving societiies have influence to the stereotype and discrimination female immigrants face.
Sub-division within women immigrants: Women as a sub-group within the community of ‘Other’, ‘foreigners’ .
- Different modes of integration
- Gendered difference in the experience of migration and refugee seeking
- Intersection: religious women, poor women, women of colour etc.
- Who is seen as ‘other’?
- Who’s involved in the process of integration?
- How are they going to be integrated into the community?
- To what extent should the ‘integration’ be? (Assimilation or Acceptance?)
- Does the refugee status enhance one’s ‘otherness’ ?
- Differences bt. migrant women who enter European countries in previous immigration flow (being accepted by labour market with relative ease) and new female migrants (facing closed labour market with limited places offered)
- The diverse way they enter the countries affects the opportunities they have