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Accepted Paper:

Understanding migrant women's agency in responding to the culturalisation of GBV in Italy  
Marina Della Rocca (Free University of Bozen-Bolzano)

Paper Short Abstract:

A culturalist rhetoric still dominates public discourses on migrant women's experiences of GBV obscuring structural barriers. In my paper I describe how the ethnographic approach allows the identification of migrant women's agency, enabling concrete innovation in the work of antiviolence operators.

Paper Abstract:

Migrant and asylum-seeking women are still portrayed as subjects outside of history, where migration to Western states offers them a chance for emancipation and liberation from their "traditional" cultural contexts (Pinelli, 2019, p. 8). My anthropological research on the advocacy practices of anti-violence centres shows how this rhetoric still dominates public discourses on migrant women's encounters with GBV in Italy and obscures the structural barriers they face. This calls for a feminist intersectional analysis of power relations that considers public representations of migrant women's experiences, institutional responses to them, and related advocacy practices. In this paper I present the different forms of culturalization and racialisation of GBV in the Italian context. In addition, I describe how the ethnographic approach and methodology allows the identification of migrant women's multiple forms of agency, which means focusing 'not on individual self-assertion but on the structural basis of gender [and race] inequalities' (Cornwall, 2016, p. 344). This has allowed me to promote concrete innovations in the practice of anti-violence centres and to provide specific training for workers from different agencies and services, offering a broader perspective on migrant and asylum-seeking women's experiences that takes into account power relations and the historical, cultural, social, economic and political conditions in which these relations take shape.

Cornwall, A. (2016). Women’s Empowerment: What Works? Journal of International Development, 28(3), 342–359.

Pinelli, B. (2019). Migranti e rifugiate: Antropologia, genere e politica. Milano: Raffaello Cortina Editore.

Panel OP296
Migrations, gender equality and empowerment in the EU
  Session 1 Thursday 18 July, 2024, -