“All my friends are gone”: Moral negotiations of love and friendship in emerging refugee masculinities
Árdís K. Ingvars
(University of Iceland)
Paper short abstract:
In Athens, queer/cis refugees negotiate their relations in the midst of desires for mobility and local emotional safety. Thus, their mobiles become a political object while being an intimate companion. Navigating their belongings some use the social media to endorse inclusive human rights.
Paper long abstract:
Feeling abandoned on the streets of Athens, Paul, a queer refugee, wrote the song “Gone”. It describes well, how in refugee worlds, having a friend or a partner is riddled with complexities of safety and danger. When Paul reached France a few months later, he turned the song into a Youtube video, as he aspired to become a recognized artist and awarded a refuge in Paris. Thus, he hoped sufferings would assemble towards a qualified life (Fassin, 2010) for himself and others in similar position. This paper is based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in Greece in 2012-2015, where I observed how refugee men from Middle Eastern, Asian and Sub-Sahara countries negotiated their masculinities. I focus on how men who did and did not identify with the gender ascribed to them at birth communally negotiated imaginaries of modern love and friendship. While sharing tight spaces, men’s mobilization and safety would often depend on how they were able to network, through physical presence and social media, among their compatriots and other supportive groups. Thus, cis-gendered refugee men would re-negotiate what kind of sexual practices were acceptable for themselves and in their social circle. At the same time, queer/gay refugees would identify with the border struggles and romances of their cis male friends, while only exposing their sexual orientation to a select few. Participating in solidarity networks, however, allowed some refugees the supportive space to visibly endorse the rights of other marginalized groups and to demonstrate their emergent masculinities (Inhorn 2012).
Creating locality in mobile times: intimacy, friendship and belonging between digital and physical co-presence [ANTHROMOB]