Donato, Katharine, Donna Gabaccia, Jennifer Holdaway, Martin Manalansan IV and Patricia R. Pessar. (2006). A Glass Half Full? Gender in Migration Studies, 40(1): 3–26.
This introduction to a collection of papers discusses the genealogy and new directions in the study of migration with a focus on gender: works from before 1985 “wrestled with the seemingly conflicting ideas of the universal subjugation of women and culturally specific articulations of gender difference”; the linguistic turn enabled the consideration of gender as fluid, relational and performative, and as a subjective process (i.e. Judith Butler and Joan Scott). The collection follows this turn in that it looks at the relational aspect of gender. Rather than limiting the study of gender to the realm of the family, household, and women’s lives, the authors look at the entire migration process as a gendered phenomenon (6). Migration is now studied on a more varied scale, “from the local and familiar to the national and global,” as theorized for instance by Sarah Mahler and Patricia Pessar in their “gendered geographies of power.” There is also a growing interest in the historical research on the “interconnectedness of temporal scales by seeking to understand how gender shapes the intersection of family cycles and individual, biographical, and national historical time – represented, for example, by processes such as industrialization, war, diplomacy, or policy making” (6). Gender is also being analyzed by looking at both male and female migrants at the level of politics (i.e. neoliberal and welfare state policies toward im/migrants), at the politics practised in the workplaces of immigrants, and in the larger capitalist world system. The editors are optimistic that historical perspectives in the study of gendered migration will enable researchers to see how gendered patterns have persisted over “long periods of time” (15). These recent theoretical formulations about gender and migration have also certainly nurtured a more interdisciplinary dialogue in migration scholarship.