Gender, Securitisation and Transit: Refugee Women and the Journey to the EU
Gerard, A. and S. Pickering (2014). "Gender, Securitization and Transit: Refugee Women and the Journey to the EU." Journal of Refugee Studies 27(3): 338-359
23 Pages Posted: 8 Nov 2014
Date Written: July 13, 2014
European Union (EU) Member States have cultivated a legal framework that prevents irregular migrants, including asylum seekers, from arriving in the EU. As external and internal border controls are amplified to achieve this aim, the experiences of asylum seekers beyond the EU border, in 'transit' countries, warrants further inquiry. Concepts of 'transit' are being shaped by Government accounts of onward or 'secondary' migration as illegitimate or clandestine (Düvell 2010; Oelgemöller 2010). The construction of asylum seekers as a security threat lends support to initiatives that aim to contain them beyond the EU (Bigo 2001; Huysmans 2000). These tensions are played out in countries like Libya, a key partner for the EU in border control. This article presents empirical research on the impact of these tensions on asylum seekers. Based on interviews with refugee women who have successfully transited Libya to reach the southern EU Member State of Malta, this article traces the gendered impact of the securitization of migration on women’s experiences of 'transit'. Women’s stories provide a counter narrative to securitization and humanitarian discourses around transit and highlight the gendered way in which functional border sites (Weber 2006) operate beyond the EU, in conjunction with state and other forms of organized and opportunistic violence.
Keywords: gender, irregular migration, securitization of migration, transit, border control
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation