Precarious Masculinity in the Context of Refugee Migration.

Monday, 16 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Paul SCHEIBELHOFER, University of Innsbruck, Austria
Not just since the „long summer of migration“ of 2015, dominant representations of male refugees in Europe have centered around imageries of an archaic, dangerous and deceitful hyper male. While these depictions are useful for legitimizing anti-immigrant politics, they say little about the actual life of male refugees. But also opposing depictions of male refugees as passive victims of their circumstances are stereotypical in nature. Employing an intersectional approach, this paper analyses the complex and contradictory processes of constructing masculinity in the context of refugee migration. The paper presents the biographical analysis of a male refugee who travelled from Syria to Austria in the course of three years. Integrating critical masculinity studies and migration studies, the analysis shows how the young men’s experiences of social marginalization and institutionalised exclusion have both masculinizing and emasculating effects. But the analysis also shows moments of resistance to marginalization, practices of “caring masculinity” and solidarity across social boundaries. The intersectional biographical analysis thus not only documents how multiple social hierarchies interact to create a precarious masculinity in the context of refugee migration, but also how this situation is navigated, confronted and subverted.