Calogero Giametta (Birkbeck College, London)
Calogero Giametta is a sociologist and visiting research fellow at Birkbeck College, London. His research to date has examined the lived experiences of gender and sexual minority refugees and on the discourses linking the politics of sexuality and the refugee granting process in the UK. He was a post-doctoral research fellow at Aix-Marseille Université (2014-2016) within the research project Embodied Borders: Problematizing Sexual Humanitarianism. Currently he is Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute for the Humanities (BIH) at Birkbeck College, London. He is the author of the Sexual Politics of Asylum (forthcoming, 2017).
Fragmented Masculinities on the Move
In this paper I will focus on the importance of analytically complementing the study of gender relations with an intersectional approach when examining migrants’ lived experiences vis-à-vis immigration institutions and the broader receiving societies. The geographical focus will be the EU zone; France and the UK in particular. In so doing I will refer to one of my recent research projects Embodied Borders: Problematising Sexual Humanitarianism, which attempts to produce a grounded critique of the categories of gender, vulnerability and agency underpinning the humanitarian governance of migration (Davidson 2006, Feldman and Ticktin 2010, O’Connell 2011). In the discussion I will take the examples of asylum and social protection provisions in the EU—all too often granted on the basis of stereotypical and racialised understandings of victimhood and gender relations. The thoughts that I elaborate on emerge from my ethnographic experiences when doing multi-sited fieldwork in three different cities between France and the UK: Paris, London and Marseille, and covering a time period that goes from 2011 to the present day with refugees and migrant sex workers. I will concentrate on the processes of self-narrativisation that these migrants go through when claiming a right in the country of arrival. Here I will specifically look at the information shared by a trans research respondent as their biographical account effectively queers assumptions about the fixity of masculinity at the level of embodiment, self-understanding and relationality. Further, through elaborating on salient theoretical work about masculinities (Connel 1995, Connell and Messerschmidt 2005, Cornwall and Lindisfarne 1994), the respondent’s narrative in question will allow me to uncover the critical connections between processes of socio-political marginalization (i.e. Islamophobia), cultural and economic resources abroad, and familial obligations (or lack thereof) at ‘home’.