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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Zentrum für Transdisziplinäre Geschlechterstudien

Care - Migration - Gender. Ambivalent Interdependencies

International Conference of the Center for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies (ZtG) and the Berlin Institute for Empirical Research on Integration and Migration (BIM) at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin


Thursday, 31st January 2019 and Friday, 1st February 2019
at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (Senatssaal)


Care, migration, and gender are interwoven in obvious and not so obvious ways. Bridget Anderson shows how the ‘dirty work’ within care is delegated to marginalized subject positions. The concept of the care chain, developed by Rhacel Salazar Parreñas, highlights the fact that care workers themselves leave behind reproductive tasks, which in turn have to be carried out by others when they migrate. Queer theorist Martin F. Manalansan questions the implicitly assumed heterosexuality of care migrants. Furthermore, it is illustrated that care workers are not just victims of social structures but themselves actively make decisions – which opens up debates about agency. Following significant publications by Rajni Palriwala and Helma Lutz, questions have arisen about who has agency and the way care, migration, and gender regimes impact it. Additionally, care migration is an effect of global inequalities while simultaneously allowing for both exploitation and empowerment. The dominant narrative tells that care workers migrate from the Global South and post-socialist societies to the Global North. But this is not the whole story: Care migration also takes place within the Global South and among post-socialist societies themselves. Moreover, the relationship between care workers and care receivers is anything but straightforward. The structures (and hierarchies) of dependence and power hinge on the respective social positions as well as the access to rights and recognition. Additionally, while migrants can also be care receivers, some care receivers may need to migrate in order to get access to care.

Our conference »Care – Migration – Gender. Ambivalent Interdependencies« offers a space to collectively investigate these interdependencies in their complexities and aims to initiate a discussion of such ambivalences. In particular we will discuss the following:

  • What forms do the interdependencies of care-migration-gender take in different places, in different fields, and with different stakeholders?
  • How are the interdependencies of care-migration-gender shaped through different incentives, interests, and representations?
  • How are the interdependencies of care-migration-gender regulated politically, legally, and socially?
  • How and with which aims and effects have care workers organized?

We invite you to join in the discussion.


The organizing team
Urmila Goel, Christine Bauhardt, Gabriele Jähnert, Mike Laufenberg, Almut Peukert, Nivedita Prasad, Sophia Schmid, Julia Teschlade, Gökce Yurdakul

The program as well as further information for the registration will be available from mid-September.