2011 volume 43(7) pages 1514 – 1529

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Bastia T, 2011, "Migration as protest? Negotiating gender, class, and ethnicity in urban Bolivia" Environment and Planning A 43(7) 1514 – 1529

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Migration as protest? Negotiating gender, class, and ethnicity in urban Bolivia

Tanja Bastia

Received 5 August 2010; in revised form 1 September 2010

Abstract. Feminist geographies of migration are often based on the assumption that migration brings about social change, potentially disrupting patriarchal structures and bringing about new spaces where gender relations can be renegotiated and reconfigured. On the basis of multisited research conducted with migrants from the same community of origin in Bolivia, I analyse how gender, class, and ethnicity are renegotiated through internal and cross-border migration. A transnational, multiscalar, multisited, and intersectional approach is applied to the study of social change through migration, with the aim of investigating whether labour migration provides avenues for greater gender equality. At the individual level there are certainly indications that women achieve greater independence through migration. However, the multiscalar and intersectional analysis suggests that women trade ‘gender gains’ for upward social mobility in the class hierarchy. By doing so, they also contribute to the reproduction of patriarchal social relations.

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