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Surprisingly, the subsequent and rapid midcentury feminization of international migration — a sharp violation of Ravenstein's theoretical work — seemed of no interest to anyone. And when a group of U. At least two reasons come to mind: it may have been that existing explanations were seen as not theoretical, or it may have been that the academy still had too few women to evaluate existing explanations.

Women and gender were also central in early studies of U. In the first decades of the twentieth century, highly educated women — many sympathetic to women's rights and the suffrage movements — were as involved in immigration research as were men, and their work was supported by research foundations then in their infancy.

Like their counterparts later in the century, women researchers often focused exclusively on immigrant women, children, and family life. The influential Pittsburgh Survey of Greenwald and Anderson, employed women researchers in part to guarantee that women workers and immigrant families and communities were surveyed Butler, ; Byington, Male and female researchers alike used quantitative and statistical methods into the s e.

Cross-Cultural Engagements

Others experimented with qualitative methodologies notably personal narratives, participant observation, and oral history , still widely used by scholars today. In the years after World War I, funders of social science research, including the Russell Sage Foundation and the SSRC, began to deny funding to research projects that seemed too closely associated with either reform or with social service. Funding increasingly went to male researchers sometimes with female assistants with university appointments Deegan, ; Yu, In the s, scholarly interest in migration reemerged alongside feminism, but this time it motivated more women to seek scholarly careers.

This interdisciplinary scholarship became housed in university departments of anthropology, history, and interdisciplinary women's studies and ethnic studies. In feminist work on immigrant women in the s and s, we can also discern early efforts to create a multidisciplinary or even interdisciplinary field of migration studies.

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Unfortunately, collaborative and interdisciplinary essay collections and bibliographies on migrant women Morokvasic, ; Simon and Brettell, ; Gabaccia, , had little impact on migration studies, where women's experiences tended, at best, to be relegated to conference panels or book chapters on the family.

Repeatedly, across the twentieth century, then, female researchers had studied immigrant women and engaged in gender analysis only to see their work and often their places of employment separated from the sites — sociology and other academic departments and foundations — that defined theory and value in the scholarly study of migration.

In seeking to understand how the creation and defense of disciplinary boundaries often through conflicting understandings of theory and method influences the contemporary study of gender and migration today, it is helpful to bear in mind these patterns of the past. Theoretical formulations of gender as relational, and as spatially and temporarily contextual, have allowed scholars in a surprising although not unlimited range of disciplines to create and nurture interdisciplinary dialogue about questions central to all migration scholarship.

Yet such interdisciplinary field building has not been without its problems for social scientists. These have typically been raised by differing understandings of what theory is is it prediction, explanation, or interpretation? The rapidly increasing volume and interdisciplinary nature of research on gender is not sufficient to convince such colleagues that research on gender adds theoretical value.

International Perspectives On Migration Series

Until gender analysis draws on the theories and methods of their own disciplines, they see little evidence that gender analysis matters. Here we point briefly to examples of research that refined or reconfigured popular theories. Second, discoveries e. Their lives suggested the hyperexploitation and hard lives of labor that facilitated strategies for household mobility Gilberson, Key among them is: 1 although their migration is initially motivated by economic conditions, soon after it begins, it becomes an institutionalized and cultural way of life in origin communities; 2 migration is an intergenerational process passed down from grandfathers to fathers to sons; 3 women largely remain in communities of origin and rely on remittances sent from men; and 4 social networks are powerful and gendered, and maintain the institutionalized process of migration.

In the substantial body of MMP scholarship, few studies until recently have considered the role of gender. Generally speaking, although more women are migrating than in the past, traditional explanations for men's migration do not apply to women. Decisions to migrate are made within a larger context of gendered interactions and expectations between individuals and within families and institutions. Therefore, gender is critically important to consider before the development of theory about who migrates from Mexico and its consequences. A final example draws on recent scholarship on immigrant incorporation.

Most of the major theories of incorporation devote almost no attention to gender see examples such as Portes and Zhou, ; Portes and Rumbaut, , ; Rumbaut and Portes, ; Alba and Nee, ; Bean and Stevens, Portes and Rumbaut do include gender as a component of their segmented assimilation model, but it is discussed only briefly in the narrative, referring to the ways that different socialization of adolescent boys and girls affects their educational aspirations and achievement.

Yet there is almost no exploration of the gendered home or school processes that produce these differences. Gendered analysis in immigrant incorporation does appear in other studies, however. Newer work also shows that, despite the overall advantage of women in educational terms, gendered expectations in the family have a complicated effect on attainment. For example, although keeping girls indoors means they are more likely to do their homework, some immigrant parents will not let their daughters travel out of the neighborhood to better high schools or out of the city for college, so that often they do not attend the best schools.

At the same time, men and women of the same race and ethnicity also perceive different responses from teachers, counselors, and employers that shape their educational and employment experiences Kasinitz et al. To sum up, scholarship on women, gender, and migration has progressed through several stages. Researchers have attempted to fill in the gaps that resulted from decades of research based predominantly on male migrants and immigrants. Recent studies have taken the next, crucial step and sought to reformulate migration theory in light of the anomalous and unexpected findings.

Collectively the essays presented in this special issue make possible a number of broad observations about the field of migration studies and the place of gender analysis within it. First, the recent explosion of interest in gender analysis cannot be attributed, as it sometimes is, to the emergence of postmodernist philosophy and the methodological linguistic turn in the late s. Contributors also document the rising importance of interdisciplinary dialogue in scholarship on gender; indeed many found they could not draw exclusively on authors from their own disciplines, because research in other disciplines notably sociology and anthropology so often crossed over into their own.

Taken together, the articles in this issue reveal how migration studies, like other interdisciplinary fields, can function as a powerful site of scholarly creativity.


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Still, disciplinary boundaries are not likely to disappear any time soon, and even the most casual reader of these articles will note wide variations in the practice and acceptance of gender analysis across, and sometimes also within, disciplines. These variations can be attributed to sharp disciplinary differences about epistemology, theory, and method. Our authors show, for example, that anthropologists have often led the way in creating interdisciplinary dialogue, while psychologists and political scientists have been more hesitant to engage in discussions of gender, both within or across disciplinary lines.

While certainly influenced by postmodernist philosophy, anthropology had made analysis of sex central long before In a sense this discipline prepared the way for both feminist studies of women in the s and gender analysis in the s. Given the historical development of the discipline, furthermore, it is not surprising that anthropologists proved especially important in nurturing interdisciplinary dialogue within migration studies and in encouraging gender analysis not only across disciplinary but also within area studies boundaries. They highlight the contributions of feminist ethnography in both anthropology and sociology in pushing scholars in both fields to consider an epistemological debate about the limited possibilities for quantitative, positivist methods to capture the subjectivity and agency of migrants as they mediate and act upon the world.

However, Mahler and Pessar do not blindly champion qualitative methods, but clearly express the need to create a bridge between qualitative and quantitative methods that meaningfully brings together the limits and possibilities of both.

Feminism and Migration: Cross-Cultural Engagements

Mahler and Pessar emphasize how ethnographic methods can be used at many scales of analysis and highlight recent scholarship on households, kinship, and social networks; employment and its consequences for gendered relations and practices; refugees and human rights; migration and the social construction of subjects and identities; gender, sexuality, and the second generation; and transnationalism.

The authors point to gaps in the literature and provide examples of missed opportunities such as studies of recruitment that would have benefited from a gendered analysis. The influence of anthropology on neighboring disciplines becomes particularly obvious in the remaining contributions. As Silvey's list of references also suggests, geographers trained in the United Kingdom have pioneered gendered analyses of migration worldwide; as in anthropology, they are not limited to the United States. Throughout the thirty years under review in this essay, immigration historians of gender and women have worked within interdisciplinary fields notably American studies, women's studies, and ethnic studies and absorbed insights from other disciplines, especially sociology and anthropology.

Historical work can thus both point to the persistence of gendered patterns over long periods of time raising questions about the limits of the fluidity many gender analyses posit and demonstrate the fluidity of gender as migrants move through time as well as across space. Whether historians can convince their colleagues in the traditionally ahistorical social sciences of the importance of theorizing time as well as space in order to understand migration remains to be seen.

Those who have studied immigration policy and gender have borrowed methods and insights from history and sociology as well as legal studies. Calavita acknowledges the importance of treating gender as relational, fluid, and contextual, but she also points to the very powerful ways in which law works to naturalize gender as a dichotomous binary of male and female.

Based on her recent research on Italy and Spain, Calavita also insists on the complex ways in which differing systems of law and welfare states interact with migrants and local economies and societies around issues of gender. Although every aspect of the migration process is shaped by political factors and migration presents many political challenges on the domestic and international levels, the attention of political scientists in the United States and Europe has been limited to a few topics, including control over entry and exit, and issues of incorporation and citizenship.

Work that employs a gender perspective constitutes an even smaller body of work, and is mostly concerned with differences in electoral behavior, perhaps partly because of the emphasis on quantitative methods among most political scientists. In considering the contribution that political science could make to our understanding of gendered migration, Piper points both to some pioneering studies of gendered patterns of migration and incorporation and to the growing concern with gender among international organizations and policy makers.

Piper's essay raises interesting questions about the relationship between disciplinary boundaries and topical areas and also about the ways in which regional contexts shape the nature of scholarly inquiry. She especially emphasizes that scholarship on governance in Asia has a different focus from that in the United States because temporary migration is much more common there and because citizenship remains out of reach.

But they nevertheless emphasize obstacles to the development of gendered perspectives. Because developmental psychologists insist firmly on a scientific methodology that emphasizes validity, reliability, and experimental designs, gender has been treated mainly as a dichotomous variable. Psychologists often document that sex does or does not make a difference, but they find themselves unable to explain how, when, and why it makes a difference to be female or male.

Feminism and Migration : Glenda Tibe Bonifacio :

Moreover, their interest has been focused almost exclusively on processes of adaptation rather than on those factors that may initially have propelled immigrants to leave their countries of origin. As a result, citing work by specialists outside psychology, they echo a common theme: the need for, and promise of, interdisciplinary scholarship on gender and migration. As the largest group of scholars in migration studies, sociologists form a difficult discipline to categorize simply. On the one hand, feminist sociologists spearheaded early work on migration as a gendered system e.

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This important early research has informed subsequent research and theory development on gender and migration across the disciplines. The authors note a move over the decades from an additive approach i. Ultimately, however, the authors lament the slow advance of gender analysis in quantitative research. Their review of four flagship sociology journals along with IMR is indeed sobering. They find that a substantial portion of the sociological studies published in these journals both neglect to include information on the sex composition of sample respondents and fail to consider migration as a gendered process.

They conclude that a substantial divide remains among sociologists working with differing methodologies and that this creates obstacles for the publication of studies on gender and migration in the major journals of their discipline. Manalansan challenges scholars in migration studies to question their assumptions that sexuality is dichotomous and fixed, causing them to overlook the sometimes important role that sexuality and desire play in the migration process for example, when people migrate to be able to pursue queer lives and identities.

Collectively the essays suggest why some disciplines have been more receptive to gender analysis than others. Among gender and migration scholars, guiding concepts and analytical frameworks have been drawn more frequently from anthropology and qualitative sociology than from the otherwise more influential body of knowledge produced by quantitative sociologists.

This means that one of the largest challenges of furthering analysis of gender in migration studies is to find ways to benefit from the tension between these methodological approaches and to draw upon what each contributes. Within each of these methodological approaches, there are some steps that can be taken to improve our ability to capture the role of gender.

This means, for example, finding alternatives to standard research practices in survey work, such as interviewing only heads of households in cultures where they are predominantly male. Researchers must routinely ask whether views or behaviors apply to both men and women and to sons and daughters, and sample sizes must always be large enough to allow for the analysis of gender in association with other variables. Furthermore, either the presence or absence of gender differences constitutes a positive research finding and should be reported, as would the presence or absence of differences among ethnic, racial, or national groups.

Our second recommendation goes beyond this, and is based on the belief that collaborative, multidisciplinary research teams, working in innovative ways and combining quantitative and qualitative methods, can do the most to advance gender analysis of migration beyond its current state. In the process of editing this volume, our most intensive discussions have focused on what disciplines committed to either quantitative or qualitative methods could learn from each other and from the findings and theorizing of disciplines that have tolerated a fair amount of methodological eclecticism history, sociology, geography, legal studies, women's and ethnic studies.

We have noted that scholars working with quantitative methods do sometimes undertake limited ethnographic or historical research or turn to the appropriate literatures from those disciplines either during or once they have completed their analysis. Generally, however, they seek vignettes or anecdotes to illustrate conclusions reached mainly through quantitative analysis.

At the same time, qualitative researchers may contextualize their work with reference to the findings of quantitative work. There are several ways to expand this limited form of interdisciplinary dialogue. Ethnographic and historical research can generate questions to be answered more systematically and for much larger populations by survey or other quantitative methods. As an example, see Nelson Lim in Gabaccia and Leach, Conversely, qualitative methods can test survey findings, especially when explanations for the presence or absence of gender or other differences are not easily explained by the theory that originally drove the quantitative research agenda.

Use of ethnographic research methods by those engaging in world systems analyses of the mobility of labor, capital, and ideas provides one illustration of the type of mixed method research we envision. A fuller illustration is found in a new and promising recent publication. Its authors, Parrado and Flippen , use qualitative and quantitative binational data to examine how labor, power, and emotional attachments inside Mexican families vary by migration and U.

This creates difficulties, particularly for women, who face considerable obstacles in reconstructing their lives and networks after migration, when they are often separated from their own families and more dependent on their husband's relatives. Therefore, in contrast to findings from prior studies, Parrado and Flippen argue that women's structural position in U. Migration itself does little to change gender inequality, and the connection between migration, employment, and female independence is not necessarily direct and unidirectional.

It varies and develops in different ways among Mexican families in U.