Crossing and Gendering Borders
Language: French and English
Crossing a geographical border is a traumatic as well as a ‘totalizing’ experience that affects all aspects of the life of a person transversally investing her/his identity and all her/his roles as an individual and as a group member. The metaphor of “crossing the border” is appropriate when defining the individual journey of women and men who have to face difficult and unexpected living conditions, in which the abilities and responsibilities related to their social role are often diminished or humiliated. Rituals, significance, symbolism, related to the body are fundamental symbolic representation of identity, even more relevant when crossing borders. Migrants’ crossing has a “gendering” effect: border’s functionality lies in the construction of the new social space, the re-shaping of categories and roles, the dimensions of time and of immanence. The role of the body, the space it occupies, its representation and what it represents are a fundamental yet neglected aspect of border crossing.
This panel has the ambition of discussing the relationship between migrants, borders and gender, in line with the concept of “gendered borders” (see: J. Aaron, H. Altink, C. Weedon (eds.) Gendering Border Studies, Cardiff: Univ. of Wales Press, 2010; S. Shekhawat, E. C. Del Re, A. Mahapatra (eds.) Border, Violence and Gender, London: Tauris, 2017) focusing on the role of the body in the “bi-directional process of gendering” by which migrants take possession of the border as a concrete life boundary and at the same time undergo a process of change started by the crossing.