"I am doing my best": 'African' men navigating the complexities of transnational migration and family relations.
Amisah Zenabu Bakuri (University of Amsterdam)
Paper short abstract:
the study engages with how research participants navigate various normative assumptions about masculinities by exploring the everyday lives of Ghanaian-Dutch and Somali-Dutch men to understand their fears and expectations.
Paper long abstract:
This paper explores the ways in which migration contributes to ideas of masculinities among men of Somali and Ghanaian origin in the Netherlands. I examine how men reflect on their relations with individual members of their family specifically their children and spouse. I show how these men by engaging in this reflexivity, become opportune to deal with different expectations and responsibilities (from families, religious groups and the Dutch state) in a way that offsets some negative traits (perceived and patriarchal behavior) associated with men from Sub- Saharan African. Therefore, I engage with how my respondents navigate these normative assumptions by exploring the everyday lives of Ghanaian-Dutch and Somali-Dutch men to understand their fears and expectations. Depending on their circumstance, they are compelled to choose relevant, and creatively modify some of their long-standing family care practices based on their migratory quest. Drawing on 16 months of ethnographic research in the Netherlands , I uncover a dynamic set of familial practices, habits, relationships, and expectations people have developed over time and how it influences their perception about manliness. Through different encounters, I examine how men navigate immigration law, child care, spousal roles etc. in order to raise their children and maintain their families the best way they know how. The paper contributes to our understanding of transnational migration for migrants and their families, particularly for men, by examining the interplay among gender, family, and transnational migration.
Aspiring men: disrupting the narrative of African masculinity in crisis