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1This book should be of considerable interest to specialists in the three disciplines mentioned in the title. Its 10 chapters are unified by the concept of gender, here used to analyse intersections between capitalist neoliberalism and migration movements.

2The first part presents analytic tools for conceiving of borders as places that produce identity, otherness, and difference. Borders constitute privileged enclaves for manufacturing attributions of what is ‘other’, particularly on the basis of sexual difference. The first two chapters, written by the editors, use the key concept of ‘mobility regime’, together with sexual order, to study overall mobility processes. The authors identify the components of different regimes involving and combining distinct scales of governance and analytical axes, primarily the following: (a) the tie linking neoliberalism to migration and to the diversification and so-called ‘feminization’ of migration flows; (b) descriptions of a number of actors (the nation state proves a decisive one); (c) the relationship between mobility and immobility (particularly as it concerns migration stations in Mexico and internment centres in Europe), including the essential role of the danger and fear of being deported; (d) territorial delimitation processes.

3Mexico’s northern and southern borders offer a paradigm for studying how sexual and gender violence are entwined. Violent acts of these types link the patriarchal order with a certain mobility regime. Through painstaking ethnographic study, Almudena Cortés and Josefina Manjarrez describe in Chapters 1 and 2 the conditions of Central American female migrants caught in a trajectory marked by these different types of violence. Women who violate the patriarchal mandate, daring to leave the domestic sphere to which they have historically been assigned, discover a daily reality in which their bodies become available to all men. In this sense, the border as a place where sexual differences are constructed represents a call to order, a principle of the patriarchal and neoliberal system in which female migrants are perceived as sexual objects, identical, interchangeable, there for reproductive or sentimental purposes.

4Moreover, the mobility regime in that region is the target of a metanarrative of criminality that conceals the sexual violence to which women, children and adolescents of both sexes, LGBT people, indigenous people, and descendants of Africans are systematically subjected. Women are victims of sexual violence in all three major migration places and stages: the region they leave from, their migration trajectory, and their arrival at their final destination.

5In this context, it is urgent to develop public policies that take aim to fight these inequalities and that restate women’s rights. Chapters 3 and 4, by Virginia Maquieira and María Castro, follow out this line of analysis, stressing the rights of female migrants and focusing on international cooperation actors. Maquieira presents the milestones in the history of women’s rights and international law, discussing the tensions between security and freedom, highlighting the urgency of redefining the security doctrine on the basis of human rights and redistribution of the world’s wealth. Castro ends this first section with a discussion of international cooperation on development and humanitarian action in a context of violence that forces massive numbers of people to migrate—unprecedented since World War II—and offering an interesting presentation of the various actors and current global agendas (2030 Agenda, Agenda for Humanity).

6The second part of the work covers the situation of migrants who leave Mexico or the Northern Triangle of Central America for the United States. Cristina Cru describes current Mexican migration, specifically by residents of the city of Puebla. Her analysis, centred on the difference between the sexes, apprehends the migration phenomenon in all its complexity. Whereas Puebla inhabitants associate migration with positive adjectives for men (‘courage’, ‘success’, ‘masculinity’), women who decide to migrate are perceived as ‘libertine and disobedient’, even when they leave to reunite with their families. Though this perception is evolving, it has had a strong impact on women’s migration. It provides a number of benefits for particularly independent female migrants who are less exposed to violence and for the families they left behind, to whom they send money. In Chapter 6, Beatriz Moncó returns to the issue of violence against NTCA women during their trip to the United States and the different coping and avoidance strategies they develop. Female migrant vulnerability is defined by women’s inferior sexual, economic, legal, social, and symbolic position, and by delocalization, which implies solitude and loss of social networks. Paradoxically, the mobility that puts these people in grave danger generates big profits for the agents who manage it: states, through the money migrant women send home, and companies that deal in human trafficking and exploitation (‘guidemen’, retailers, etc.). Taking long-term contraceptives, cross-dressing, and finding a travelling companion are some of the strategies these women use. According to Alicia Re Cruz, the author of Chapter 7, this situation requires an anthropology of urgency that will advance the struggle for social justice. The author analyses the development of security systems (surveillance, migrant detention centres, ‘zero tolerance’ policies) and the externalizing of these services (Mexico’s Programa Frontera Sur, for example).

7Elsa Tyslez follows the same line in Chapter 8, analysing the situation in terms of power relations. She exposes the impact that European Union border security policies have—the chain of systems and policies for containing migrants outside European borders, all of them consubstantial with racist, patriarchal, and colonial logics—on the vulnerability of female migrants from Central and West Africa who cross those borders. In Chapter 9, Alessandro Forina presents the issues raised by the European Union’s current asylum regime: in a context of ‘closing doors’, what are deemed ‘legitimate’ applications for asylum (generally made by men) are usually public and political, seldom private or personal (adjectives more likely to characterize women’s applications). The last chapter, by Esperanza Jorge and Inmaculada Antolínez, presents the path Nigerian women and female adolescents take on the southern border of Spain, marked by fear and sexual violence.

8This anthology contributes to debates that link sexual and gender violence to mobility regimes, particularly in connection with the world’s two most frequently crossed borders. The interest of this work lies in the theoretical substance of the contributors’ studies, which brings together knowledge acquired in various academic contexts in Spain, Mexico, France, and the United States. These plural voices produce a global, transnational overview of research that studies migration and human rights through the prism of gender.

Maider Moreno García
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Uploaded on on 31/10/2019
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