Threatened identities and gendered opportunities: Somali migration to America

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Abstract

Migrants' encounter with new economic and sociopolitical institutions often triggers contestations around normative gender arrangements. This article draws from ethnographic work with Somalis in Minnesota to analyze the dynamic ways that new opportunities and challenges in the settlement shape gender bargains. The study asks: How do migrant men and women articulate socioeconomic challenges and opportunities in the United States? In what ways are these articulations gendered, and what are the consequences of these articulations for the ways scholars think about migration, gender, and the role of public institutions in such matters? The analysis centralizes family conflict in part triggered by contact with new institutions such as the welfare regime and the police in America. The study concludes that migrants' experiences in the context of reception as well as their religious beliefs privilege a reification of patriarchal ideologies and, thus, serve to curtail women's opportunities to resist gender subordination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-483
Number of pages25
JournalSigns
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

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