Fellowship: The Effects of the Migration on Gender Norms and Relations: The Post-Repatriation Experience in Bor, South Sudan

Grants and Contracts Details


L Project Summary Research Problem: This project's aim is to examine the post-repatriation experience of forced migrants and is designed to explore the effects of asylum environment on gender norms and relations upon return to the pre-displacement region. The researcher will compare the asylum and repatriation experiences of forced migrants who originated from the same cultural background and location - i.e., Dinka of Bor, South Sudan - yet encountered two different asylum environments: Kakuma refugee camp in northern Kenya and Khartoum, in the north of Sudan. Despite the fact that repatriation efforts have been ongoing since the 1970s, little research has been conducted on the post-repatriation experience, especially with respect to gender. As a result, repatriation theory is predicated on voluntary migrant resettlement and return patterns. Because there are conditions present during the forced migration experience that are not present during the voluntary experience, theory based on voluntary migration should not be generalized to forced migration patterns. Methods and Analysis: Over a 12-month period in Bor, South Sudan, semi-structured interviews will be conducted in three phases. The first phase is designed to examine the gender relations and norms of the Bor Dinka from Bor, South Sudan, during each phase of the forced migrant experience: prior to departure, during asylum, and post-repatriation. Phase two is designed to examine the strategies Dinka women used to deal with gender inequality during each phase of the forced migrant experience. Phase III is designed to assess the reliability of the participants' narratives. This study will involve 32 participants: 16 returnees from Kenya and 16 returnees from Khartoum. Each of these groups will include an equal number of women and men. This data will be triangulated with participant observation and a time-allocation study. The initial analysis of behavioral activities will be a comparison of the behaviors of women and men. Second, the data will be aggregated over people separately for seasons and behaviors of women and men will be compared over time to see if there are any seasonal changes. Lastly, the data will be aggregated over people by month. This will produce 11 data periods that will reveal any behavioral trends overtime. These results will be compared with data on gender norms and relations collected through interviews to determine if gendered behavior is consistent with gender norms and relations elicited during the interviews. Data will be analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics including Chi Square, analysis of variance, and trend analysis. Intellectual Merit: This study adds to the limited research on the post-return experience of forced migrants, especially with respect to gender. Earlier studies fail to consider whether women experience greater or less gender inequality during asylum and after return. Second, because gender norms and relations are central to a society's organization of power hierarchies (Ortner 2006, 1996), this project will address the ways that asylum affect gender relations and norms upon return will be critical to appropriate repatriation policy and aid assistance. Third, while migration studies traditionally focus on either international or internal mobility, the proposed research will consider both the common patterns and the differences between intra-national and international migration. Fourth, this project will be one of few studies that involve a returning population that outnumbers the resettlement community, Beyond refugee studies and migration theory, this research speaks directly to the need to recognize and examine the impact of war on gender norms and the role women can, and do, play in post-conflict reconstruction.
Effective start/end date8/1/091/31/11


  • National Science Foundation: $14,918.00


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