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Constructing Humanitarian Selves and Refugee Others: Gender Equality and the Global Governance of Refugees
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science. Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2400-9144
2016 (English)In: International feminist journal of politics, ISSN 1461-6742, E-ISSN 1468-4470, Vol. 18, no 2, 270-290 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Contributing to ongoing debates about what happens when feminism is institutionalized in global governance, this article examines how gender equality is given meaning and applied in humanitarian aid to refugees, and what the implications are with regard to the production of subjectivities and their positioning in relations of power. Drawing on Foucauldian and postcolonial feminist perspectives, the analysis identifies two main representations of what it means to promote gender equality in refugee situations. Gender equality is represented as a means to aid effectiveness through the strategic mobilization of refugee women’s participation, and as a project of development, involving the transformation of “traditional” or “backward” refugee cultures into modern societies. The subject positions that are produced categorically cast refugees as either passive or problematic subjects who need to be rescued, protected, assisted, activated, controlled and reformed through humanitarian interventions, while humanitarian workers are positioned as rational administrators and progressive agents of social transformation. In effect, gender equality is used to sustain power asymmetries in refugee situations and to reproduce global hierarchies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge , 2016. Vol. 18, no 2, 270-290 p.
Keyword [en]
global governance, gender equality, refugees, humanitarian aid, governmentality, postcolonial feminism, Thailand, Bangladesh
National Category
Gender Studies Globalization Studies
Research subject
Peace and Conflict Research; genusvetenskap
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-113507DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2015.1094245OAI: diva2:885751
Available from: 2015-12-21 Created: 2015-12-21 Last updated: 2016-05-25

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Olivius, Elisabeth
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Department of Political ScienceUmeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS)
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