Threatened Identities and Gendered Opportunities: Somali Migration to America

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Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, ISSN: 0097-9740, Vol: 39, Issue: 2, Page: 459-483

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Cawo Mohamed Abdi
University of Chicago Press
Social Sciences; Arts and Humanities
article description
Migrants' encounter with new economic and sociopolitical institutions often triggers contestations around normative gender arrangements. This article draws from ethnographic work with Somalis in Minnesota to analyze the dynamic ways that new opportunities and challenges in the settlement shape gender bargains. The study asks: How do migrant men and women articulate socioeconomic challenges and opportunities in the United States? In what ways are these articulations gendered, and what are the consequences of these articulations for the ways scholars think about migration, gender, and the role of public institutions in such matters? The analysis centralizes family conflict in part triggered by contact with new institutions such as the welfare regime and the police in America. The study concludes that migrants' experiences in the context of reception as well as their religious beliefs privilege a reification of patriarchal ideologies and, thus, serve to curtail women's opportunities to resist gender subordination. © 2013 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.