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Geographies of Gender and Migration: Spatializing Social Difference Author(s): Rachel Silvey Reviewed work(s): Source: International Migration

Review, Vol. 40, No. 1, Gender and Migration Revisited (Spring, 2006), pp. 64-81 Published by: The Center for Migration Studies of New York, Inc. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27645579 . Accessed: 17/02/2012 07:33
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Geographies ofGender andMigration: Spatializing Social Difference^


Rachel Silvey
University of Colorado

article provides a review of the contributions that the discipline of to gender and migration research. In geographic geography ismaking of migration, gender differences are examined most centrally in analyses relation to specific spatialities of power. In particular, feminist geographers have developed insight into the gender dimensions of the social construc tion of scale, the politics of interlinkages between place and identity, and the socio-spatial production of borders. Supplementing recent reviews of the gender and migration literature in geography, this article examines the potential for continued cross-fertilization between feminist geography and migration research in other disciplines. The advances made by feminist to migration studies are illustrated through analysis of the geographers and debates tied to the subfield's central recent conceptual findings This
interventions.

INTRODUCTION
Recent decades have witnessed a multidisciplinary insistence on the centrality of space to the social theoretic agenda (Gupta and Ferguson, 1992; Mahler and Pessar, 2001; Gidwani and Sivaramakrishnan, 2003). As the discipline which concerns itself most centrally with understanding spatial relationships, geography has been crucial to the debates animating this renaissance (Harvey, 1989; Soja, 1989; Lefebvre, 1991;Watts,
geography's specific

1992; Smith and Katz,


to the

1993; Massey,
of

1994). Yet
place,

contributions

scale, and migration are often leftonly partially specified inwork outside of the discipline. Here, I argue that engagement with the feminist geography literature, and with the growing body of feminist geographic migration research in particular, can help further specify both some key tenets of recent

conceptualization

space,

*I would

as the Social

support research has been funded by the Foundation. group that was provided by the Mellon My Scholars National and the Fulbright New Century Science Foundation (BCS: 0422976) and that support is greatly appreciated. Program (2004-2005), ? 2006 by theCenter for Migration Studies ofNew York. All rights reserved. 10.111 l/j.l747-7379.2006.00003.x DOI:

reviwers for valuable feedback, as well like to thank Patricia Pessar and the anonymous Science Research Council International Migration Program's establishment and on Gender of theWorking and the funding for the working and Migration, Group

64

IMRVolume 40 Number 1 (Spring 2006):64-81

Geographies

of Gender

and Migration

65

as as the relevance of these debates to geographic theory well interdisciplinary


research on

Feminist studies of migration have contributed to reworking a range of


canonical

gender

and

migration.

foundation of geographic migration research. At the center of this work is attention to the roles that gender and other social differences play in shaping unequal geographies ofmobility, belonging, exclusion, and displacement. Feminist migration studies pivot around understanding the social and spatial dimensions
of mobility nation, associated sexuality, with ? now axiomatically and disability ? gender, citizenship, ?^Kofman race, class, et al, caste, religion, (for reviews, to

approaches

to the structures,

scales,

subjects,

and

spatial

logics

at the

2000; Willis

and Yeoh, 2000). This body of research approaches spatialmobility


in its meaning and operation changes in the economic and

as interconnected

and other disciplines (Chant, 1992; Kofman and England, 1997; Boyle and 1999;Willis and Yeoh, 2000; Halfacree, 1999; Kofman et ai, 2000; Momsen, of supplementing these reviews, the emphasis here is on Silvey, 2004). By way the specific ways that feminist geography aims to augment interdisciplinary
conversations on

cultural landscapes ofwhich mobility is understood to be a constitutive part. Extensive reviews exist of the gender and migration literature in geography

social refractions are examined most centrally in relation to specific spatialities of power (Leitner, 1997; Staeheli, 1999; Lawson, 2002). Geographic research
on

gender

and

migration.

In

geographic

analyses

of

migration,

race, class, and other differences, are developed


mobility. limited on their Research spatial examines, serves ? for not in ways instance, only how mobility

gender

and migration

asks

how

relations

of

gender,

as

these

intersect

with

and navigated through spatial


African-American but to them also women's as a resource, group

as a constraint, are specific

economic

(Gilbert, 1998). Analysis of such examples, detailed further later in this paper,
also

security

that

as a social

mobility can enrich critical theorizations of power (Nagar et ai, 2002; African-American women can Mitchell, Marston, and Katz, 2003). That is, if
use their

points

to some ways

in which

attention

to the

gender

politics

of space

and

that pre-given conceptions ofmobility as power and immobility as oppression


require further investigation.2

spatial

rootedness

in a community

to their

advantage,

this

suggests

to the 2This is a geographic parallel sociological insight about ethnic enclave economies not only to limit the opportunities of their members, but also to provide distinct operating benefits, such as discounts and free services, to people living within the enclaves. Feminists have to out that the costs and benefits of social network furthered these observations point are internally differentiated by gender (Menjivar, 2000). membership

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potential for continued cross-fertilization between feminist and migration research in other disciplines is evident in the debates geography which is examined circulating around these conceptual interventions, each of in detail in the following sections. borders. The

Feminist geographic migration researchmakes several primary conceptual contributions.3 Specifically, feminist geographers have developed insight into the gender dimensions of the social construction of scale, the politics of of interlinkages between place and identity, and the socio-spatial production

THE SOCIALCONSTRUCTIONOF SCALE


Since its inception as an imperial discipline, geography has been concerned with questions of scale, though the questions themselves have changed substantially
over time. The earliest

on amap and the corresponding distance on the tionship between the distance new territories imperial expansion for mapmakers involved in charting and dividing The drive for territorial control and and Heffernan, 1995). (Bell, Butlin, accumulation lay behind the quest for cartographic accuracy, and geographers of the colonial era played their roles as explorers and recorders, entrenched in the production of geographies of dependence. The migrants involved in the "fieldwork" required for themaking of earlymaps were almost exclusivelymale, and the epistemological and methodological orientations of geographic fieldwork and exploration were intertwinedwith that era's particular forms of patriarchy and colonial domination (Blunt and Rose, 1994; Sparke, 1996; Phillips, 1997). Colonial mapmakers relied, largely implicitly, on several additional
aspects of scale. First, geographic scale mattered, as it "refers to the spatial extent ground" (Marston, 2000:220). Scale, as a measure, mattered most for the

geographers

focused

on

cartographic

scale,

or

"the

rela

of a phenomenon or a study" (Marston, 2000:220). The growth of themetro on managing the expanding spaces of intrusion politan economies depended
governance aspect meaning geographic " essential to colonial rule. Second, the [ojperationalscale, which corresponds to the level at which relevant processes operate" (p. 220, my emphasis), includes and extraction, of the of scale was

conceptions of the national, regional, provincial, district, and local realms of

3This review focuses on gender as a central analytic construct and in so doing delimits itself to the research within the discipline that reflects this theoretical and substantive set of foci. There is also a rich, extensive tradition that continues that examines Tyner, 2003). similar themes without a central emphasis to evolve geography rapidly within population seeGober and on a gender (for review,

Geographies

of Gender

and Migration

67

colonial
Ravenstein's

intervention. Both of these dimensions of scale were commonsensical


and without geographic being named to as such, gender each was and a component of E. G. approaches migration.

at the time,

In themidst of the high colonial period, Ravenstein (1976) wrote his seminal geographic work, "The Laws ofMigration." The assumptions that he much research on gender and migration made about scale remain influential in several other general laws, he posited that females migrate more today.Among are less likely tomove frequently thanmales within their country of birth, but
further afield. In this framework, the national scale features as an

container of women's mobility. Gender, meanwhile,


sex,

is reduced to biological
the

important

tied to specific short- and long-distance migrations


and rationales Ravenstein with the exception behind also women's stated and men's that males in Europe are particular overall made more

thereby

naturalizing,

rather

than

questioning,

and the relative frequency


travels. more mobile than short females, journeys

gender

constructions

that women

numerous

thanmen.4 The
tries beyond reflected was

evidence on which he based this argument was thin for coun


and more recent research suggests that his conclusions

were likely inaccurate for many former colonies (Sharpe, 2001).


the dichotomization at the time, of European he participated versus in non-European circulating commonplace

Europe,

In thathis laws
spaces the Eurocentric that

to colonial power (Blaut, 1993). Moreover, geographic imaginary fundamental are more mobile overall than females reflectshis gendered his view thatmales ? cartographically, geographically, assumptions about which scales ofmobility forms of mobility that made up the majority of women's mobility did not count in his definition ofmigration. The point here is not that Ravenstein's definitions were exclusive. Rather, his definitions were selectivelyexclusive of the types of mobility in which women most participated. Underlying this a were in approach gendered productions of hierarchy of scales which "larger,"
"higher" arenas, scales, and such as the national scales, such and as international, were coded body, as masculine "smaller" the household and the were largely operationally, and in terms of resolution ? most matter. In particular, the daily

as feminine. ignored and implicitly coded


Ravenstein's geographic feminist

in most those scale matched about pre-feminist assumptions a concern a corrective, of on As research early primary migration. as well as women to make and women's has been research activities,

or timelessness. A built into law-like statements is permanence 4The temporal assumption laws would reveal that they were specific descriptions of a point historicization of Ravenstein's in time and also reflective of his particular sociogeographic positioning.

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to feminist interven they occur, empirically visible. Prior was perceived as a unified unit and scale of decision tions, the household costs and benefits of migration making, and the differences in theways that women and men within households were not of analytical accrue to might importance (Willis and Yeoh, 2000). Unpacking the household, and analyzing the hierarchies and power relations within it,has been at the heart of feminist contributions tomigration studies (Lawson, 1998). Geographers have explored the construction of the scale of the household as it hinges on the spatialized interplay between patriarchal structures and the agency of gendered subjects (Chant, 1998;Marston and Smith, 2001; Mattingly, 2001). Thus, whereas osten as sibly gender-neutral theorizations of the household viewed it themigration the scales at which decision making unit, feminist geographers have asked how gender and age hierarchies within households shape migration patterns (Chant, 1992). Feminist geographers have emphasized the gender-specific material
consequences of particular constructions of scale. The household, for instance,

takes on its place-specific meanings through the social practices defining tensions around the boundaries separating public and private, domesticity, meanings of kinship relations, norms of sexuality, and the relationships between various work and caring spaces (Bondi and Rose, 2003; Mitchell, Marston, and Katz, 2003). "There is," asNeil Smith (1992:73) writes, "nothing ontologically

given about the traditional division between home and locality, urban and regional, national and global scales." The gendered and political distinctions between the household and, for instance, the local labormarket are inseparable from the social practices forging the meanings of these scales. Thus, the a gendered selectivity and motivations ofmigrants into particular segments of labormarket depend on spatial entailments which reflectand contribute to the lower value ascribed to feminized work (Pratt, 2004).
Over time, the meanings of scale are contested and reformulated, a point

wage labor (Chant, 1992). The liberal feminist hope driving this research rested on the idea that women's migration into the "public" sphere would
translate into women's liberation, power, and freedom (Freeman, 2004).

that is particularly salient to research on gender and migration in the contem porary context of globalization (Staeheli, 1999). Liberal feminists, beginning in the 1970s, tended to argue thatwomen's generalized subordination "within the household" could be challenged through women's greater involvement in

Challenging and extending these early views, antiracist feminist geographers have underscored the colonial, national, and racial-ethnic politics of domestic spaces and the household scale (Aitken, 2000; Mattingly, 2001). They have demonstrated that households are not only sites of gender subordination, but

Geographies

of Gender

and Migration

69

structed differently for and by different groups ofwomen, and it is produced in conjunction with historically specific racial and national migration patterns 2002; Pratt, 2004). Feminist geographers (Ehrenreich and Hochschild, have also recently begun to contribute to understanding the "global" and the
"transnational," as elaborated further below.

can be spaces within which women of color in particular may find some refuge or on the or in from the exploitation, harassment, indignity they face job 1986). Thus the "household" scale is con "public" (Martin and Mohanty,

PLACE AND IDENTITY


Geography's approach to scale is paralleled in the discipline's theorization of place and identity in the gender and migration literature.Historically, most on mobility behavior as the migration research in the discipline focused key outcome to be explained, and littlework examined questions of identity in

individuals' and groups' identities, and the implications of these differences and their definitions in particular places (Nagel, 2002). Further, rather than seeing identities as fixed definable characteristics ofmigrants, geographers have increasingly emphasized the co-constructed nature of identities and places and the ongoing nature of this process (McDowell, 1999; Bondi et al., 2002). which

relation tomobility. In recent decades, by contrast, feminists have emphasized the differences within and between groups, theways these differences inflect

Feminist geographers have focused particular attention on the ways in power is manifest in and through the identities of migrant and (1999, 2000) has immigrant "communities." For instance, Claire Dwyer examined the meanings of belonging to a "Muslim community" among women. Dwyer's work shows second-generation British Muslim South Asian
that gender relations, and women as iconic bearers of culture, are intrinsic to

over time. The younger forging and refashioning community identities women positions itselfon the relativemargins of their generation of immigrant position of their parents as social "others" in theUK both reflects and contrib utes to producing the changing meanings of theUK as a "multicultural" place. The younger generation presents itselfas distinct from the religious and ethnic community gender norms of their parents, and in so doing theymultiply the identifications associated with the place. Rebecca Elmhirst (2000) also argues that gender formations are critical forunderstanding migrants' ethnic identities. Specifically, she details theways that themigration
Indonesia's transmigration program have promoted parents' "Muslim community." Their social repositioning in contrast to the

practices associated with


ruptures in the state's

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differentiated possibilities ofmigration and ethnicity. on identity, Recently, enriching and complementing research geographers with feminist sympathies have examined the transposition of particular dis courses into gendered forms of biopolitics and internalized governmentality. focus on specific groups of Gidwani and Sivaramakrishnan (2003:193)
circular

notions of "Javanese" femininity. She distinguishes between the complexities of gendered identity among transmigrants themselves and the Indonesian state's woman. In both of these studies,migrant homogeneous notion of the Javanese identities are viewed as produced within place-based contexts of power groups' relations and "community" politics that shape and are shaped by the gender

are political sensibilities that strategically expressed in their places of origin as a 'body politics.'" These scholars base their approach to "body politics" on the theoreticalwork of feministswho argue that bodies are not "natural objects, prior to culture" (p. 193). For migration scholars, feminist theories of corpo
realization as dangerous raise questions about bodies how and why and for women's to enter, are coded time-spaces particular and men's how women's bodies

migrants

"who

through

their

travels

and

travails,

often

acquire

perform and materialize


Inasmuch for instance, as women it can

fear or disorder in specific places.


are often "othered" for threatening or in spaces, "public" night to travel alone, them after dark at

be more

(Listerborn, 2002), enter into the city (Wilson, 1991; Bondi and Rose, 2003), or migrate into a frontier zone of economic development (Wright, 2004). The social costs ofmobility as transgression tend then to be subjectified
in women's bodies more than men's, sometimes via ailments such as agora

phobia (Davidson, 2002) and eating disorders (Bordo, 1993). Geographic of research thus highlights the ways in which the gendered meanings embodiment are linked to specific social orders of emplacement (Cresswell, and Seager, 2001; Mountz, 1996, 1999; Domosh 2004). Put another way, structures of gender, race, and class play into determining whose bodies the

belong where, how different social groups subjectively experience various environments (e.g., who feels safe in "public" places, powerful in alleyways, at home in red-light districts, afraid in the suburbs, or "in place" in the central city), and what sorts of exclusionary and disciplinary techniques are applied to specific bodies (e.g., regulations against "loitering" that label
homeless

ally around the question ofwho has the power to define a place as accessible to
whom, how various social groups

peoples'

bodies

"out

of

place").

These

arguments as

revolve

most

gener

them and others, and how the regulation of space reflects and reinforces the
privileges and interests of some groups over others.

experience

places

inclusive

or exclusive

of

Geographies

of Gender

and Migration

71

made bymigration. dynamics. Rather, place itself is a process thatmakes and is research that centers on questions of gendered places and Migration identities views the migrant as produced through a range of intersecting forces and processes, and emphasizes the human agency migrants have in the production of places and identities. Feminist geography aims to take seriously as lenses which, albeit migrants' own interpretations of place and self partial
and

contracts from Their analyses many nations both entering and leaving the country. the recursive relationships between gender identities, racialized investigate hierarchies, (trans)national processes, and the shifting meanings of home as these are retrenched through changing migration patterns. As geographers, their emphasis is on clarifying theways that place matters inmigration. Place, for these scholars, isnot taken to be a backdrop on which to explore othermigration

focuses on theways inwhich migrants are policed through gendered places. For instance, Brenda Yeoh, Shirlena Huang, and Katie Willis Yeoh and Willis, (Huang and Yeoh, 1996; Yeoh and Huang, 1998,1999,2000; 1999) explore questions of transnational migrant identity as they play out in tension with national imaginarles. They point out that Singaporean national identityhas been reshaped in response to the high numbers ofmigrants on work Geography

broader structures are mediated

into particular distillations of place and self (Tyner, 2004). Further, through understanding migrants' socially differenti ated identity and subjectivity formation processes as central to the pressures work supplements economic formulations of push/pull shaping migration, this
For instance, rather than taking wage differentials between regions, factors. or

interpretively

complex,

can

reveal

important

aspects

of

the ways

that

differences in regional labor markets, as the question driving their research, Hanson and Pratt (1995) examine how the gender "typing" of particular occupations iswrapped up in the spatial expectations and behaviors ascribed to gender (and class and ethnicity). In a now classic study ofWorcester,
Massachusetts,

preferred applicants, and potential employees also inhabit and access spatially and socially circumscribed networks. Together, these sociospatial limitations contribute to reinforcing the exclusion ofwomen and people of color from the higher-wage jobs with better working conditions. By interviewing both are able to get at the employers and employees, they gender identities and

labor markets as produced, importantly, by spatial differences in employers' and potential employees' social networks. They find that employer searches are spatially circumscribed to fit their expectations of the location of their

they

explore

the

gender-

and

race-specific

segmentation

of

gendered productions of place underlying spatial divisions of labor and by extension the gendered mobility patterns tied to labor market restructuring.

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THE SOCIOSPATIAL PRODUCTION BOUNDARIES


Most

OF BORDERS AND

conventional migration scholarship in geography implicitly conceptualizes borders as empirical delineations across which tomeasure and define migration them (Hyndman, 2000). Feminist geographers, by contrast, make borders selves the focus of investigation and examine the socially specific processes tied to their development (Nagar, 1998, 2002; Bailey et al, 2002; Yeoh, Charney, and Kiong, 2003). The edges and entry points of the nation, the region, or the body are seen to refract geohistorically specific social cleavages and power relations (Cresswell, 1996; Nagel, 2002). In thiswork, borders, like scales, are understood to be shaped fundamentally by gender and difference (Marston, 2000; Hyndman,

2001; Boyle, 2002). Geographers investigate theways inwhich the boundaries of particular are devel places and the sociospatial networks of capital and human mobility in tandem with specific gendered social agendas. For instance, Jennifer oped (2000) puts forth a framework that she terms "the geopolitics of Hyndman inwhich she juxtaposes the hypermobility of capital flows with the mobility" relative immobility of people. Specifically, she is interested in examining the flows of humanitarian aid across international borders with the general spatial entrapment of displaced people in refugee camps (Hyndman, 2000:30). There is, she points out, a variable porosity of borders, and the unequal geographies of are intertwinedwith spatial control reflected and created through these borders
social hierarchies of gender, race, nation, and class. Hyndman's work shows how

themultiply differentiated capacities of social groups to choose mobility, direct flows of capital, or control space are reinforced through the political hierarchies and boundaries separating aid providers and clients in the "refugee industry."
Rather than

in which the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees difference among groups of displaced people" (2000:63) (UNHCR) "manages and the implicit and explicit gender geographies ofUNHCR policy. She puts the ways
forth a transnational feminist framework that she argues can move past such

examining

women

refugees

per

se, Hyndman's

project

traces

(Devasahayam et al, 2004). Feminist geographers aim to contribute to understanding the ways in which gender and difference are spatially interpolated in distinct geohistorical differentiated mobility

dualized gendered notions of space and subjectivity, and explores the emanci patory potential of building alliances across social differences and across borders. Her approach thus parallels that of other geographic scholarship in that it highlights the complex spatial politics of gendered and otherwise

Geographies

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73

examines the constitution and fixing of particular borders (1997, 1998, specific historical moments. For instance, Melissa Wright 1999, 2004) examines the changing political geographies of gender in the town of Ciudad Ju?rez. Specifically, she examines the spatial maquiladora at
practices and

contexts. Research

devalued. She traces the high rates of rape and murder ofwomen in the border zones between various historically containing spaces. She demonstrates the
that migration to the factories and "into transnational circuits of capital

processes

through

which

low-income

women

are

erased

and

ways

investment... [is tied to the production of thesewomen's] bodies as low quality - as the personification of waste" (Wright, as cited in Pratt and Yeoh, 2003:160). The devaluation of migrant women factoryworkers, and the low wages that are rationalized through their devaluation, function in support of global capital accumulation. Her analysis illustrates powerfully the high cost paid bywomen
context of women migrants' border crossings.

in the border zone, and the high profitsmade by others, in the

to a re Applying feminist geography's insights migration studies entails of borders and their relationship tomobility processes (^Hyndman, reading of borders as processes 2001). Furthering feminist conceptualizations to examine how migration structured by gender and difference, it is possible is governed through a multiplicity of border crossings and fortifications. Further, it is possible to recognize that borders not only play a role in organ are themselves shaped izing migration, but through political action and that are also organized by gender and difference. Future mobility processes feminist migration research can further explore the implications of these critiques for understanding how the power relations tied to borders and the knowledge that is produced about borders play into the social differentiation ofmobility.

SPATIALIZING GENDER AND MIGRATION


Geography
boundaries,

STUDIES

is not of course the only discipline


space, and place. But because

that critically examines scale,


take these issues to be

of central concern, it ishere that the discipline has most to offer. In particular, to the gendered social construction of spatiality geography's explicit attention can enrich interdisciplinary approaches to the study of gender and migration. Scholars from other disciplines may build on the work reviewed here to ask critical questions about the gender politics of their own discipline's spatial to logics and implicit geographic theorizations. My goal here has not been isuniquely suited to examine these issues, but rather to suggest that geography

geographers

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an overview of some key contributions from within to the growing body of gender and migration literature. geography provide
As this interdisciplinary literature continues to expand, there

feminist
are several

geographic points that deserve further attention. First, feminist and critical the point that scales are not empirically geographers have underscored identifiable categories through which to understand push and pull factors (for a review, seeBrown and Lawson, 1985). Rather, scale is a framing device. Feminist geographic migration research is specifically interested in analyzing
the power-laden, socially constructed, and genderand difference-inflected nature

which migration processes play out, gender and migration research examines the construction of scale itself as the focus of inquiry.A primary goal of this work is to disentangle thepolitics of gender, race, and class to uncover how these structures shape both the knowledge that is produced about scale (e.g.,whose nation and whose national boundaries; forwhom is something of "global" importance and who gets to decide; what is viewed as worthy of the label
"macro-scale") as well as the

of spatial scales (Hyndman andWalton-Roberts, 2000; Marston, 2000; Tyner, et al., 2002). Rather than 2000; Nagar understanding the international, national, regional, or household scales as the spatial categories within and across

does wield power over international trade agreements; the WHO does determine the scope of necessary health interventions formuch of theworld). Critical analysis of dominant scale discourses allows investigation of the assumptions and power relations that are embedded in standard geopolitical views of scale, a project that "is important precisely because such assumptions the WTO
define research

dynamics

and

meanings

of scale

in

practice

(e.g.,

frames of reference" (Hyndman and Walton-Roberts,


migrant "women's needs" of domestic issue," workers, or an issue for that instance, is primarily can be

questions,

shape

government

policies, framed

and

generate

common

2000:246).
as a

The

rightsof
issue," economic are also a

"global

a result domestic

of the "national workers' rights

low-income

countries.

consider migrants' rightsprimarily "local" rather than "global," abuse tends to be construed as the responsibility of the individual migrant, her family, or her nation of origin. When migrants' issues are presented as global issues, the which
global

often located in the "private" spaces of homes, and subsequently viewed as beyond the scope of national or international jurisdiction. In discourses that

Migrant

to confront the migration issues that involve sending and receiving communities. On the other hand, "going global" does not necessarily or solely
an issue

stage may

be

opened

up

as an arena,

a scale,

and&

political

space,

through

promote

ship on sex work and "trafficking" finds that the internationalization of the

in the way

early

advocates

may

hope.

Indeed,

recent

scholar

Geographies

of Gender

and Migration

75

movement has a antitrafficking brought with it re-entrenchment of hierarchies and exclusions based on race, class, and nation (Kempadoo, 2005). Second, in addition to scale, geographers have contributed to theorizing the gender politics of place as these are intertwined with identity.Across the core concerns of disciplines, the geographic place, space, and mobility have
taken a more central substantive and

tion to thework of geographers can enrich these debates. In particular, there is potential for further interdisciplinary discussion of the geographic understand ing of place as process (Massey, 1994), rather than site or location, and the rela tional production of identities in conjunction with places (Keith and Pile, Marxian political 1993). In addition, the strong traditionwithin geography of economic analysis of spatial fixities (for a review, see Sheppard, 2004) lends itself well to understanding the spatial politics of gendered place and identity production inmigration studies. Most fundamentally, feminist geographers
ask

analytical

role

in recent

decades.

Atten

tions in the making,


themselves come into

migration

researchers

to see not

but also to critically examine the ways


being in part as a result of gender, race,

only

gender

identities

as

social

construc

inwhich places
class, and other

and is today themain destination for low-income women (and men) seeking to supplement their families' incomes (Mills, 1999). The meanings ascribed to Phat Phong as a place then influence who migrates there, forwhat purposes, and with what consequences for their bodies, their identities, their national military or economic goals, and their position within the global economy. Third, feminist analyses of borders and boundaries can help to under

Phong is produced in the context of centuries of Orientalist fantasies about was a rest stop for Asian women's sexuality (Manderson and Jolly, 1997); it mostly American troops headed to battle in Vietnam (Ryan and Robinson, 1998); male,

through and locating in those places. The sexwork dis trict in Bangkok (Phat Phong), for example, takes on its allure and its stigma, a its meaning as site of livelihood generation, and its international fame in the context of historically layered gendered, raced, and classed migrations. Phat social relationsmoving

maps, without forgetting the embodied, often bloody ramifications ofmilita


rized border zones on the ground. Gender and migration researchers may

stand the relationships between migration, the operation of power, and the construction of social order.Attention to feminist geographic theory can move questions about borders beyond essentialist formulations of lines drawn on

draw on thework of feminist geographers to push forward the analysis of these complexities of gender formation by examining theways they are tied tomigra
tion. In

analyses of the roles of gender and difference in making

particular,

this

suggests

the

importance

of

continuing

and

the politics of borders,

expanding

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and understanding how these shape national, militarized, and imagined borders integral to defining migrants' embodied experiences. can and is Having argued for the specific contributions that geography to the study of that these making gender and migration, it isworth repeating observations are by no means the exclusive domain of the discipline. Further, the examples selected to illustrate debates within geography are not aimed at out in this defining the discipline. Rather, the themes and examples drawn towards the invigoration of interdisciplinary dialogue. Through persistent engagement with debates about the social construction of scale, the relationships between place and identity, and the politics of borders
and boundaries, feminist

essay are directed

and accurate scholarship, and hopefully also in some small way tomore equi table lived geographies ofmobility.

migration

studies

may

contribute

to more

complete

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