Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Immigration Article of the Day: Jamie Abrams, Enforcing Masculinities at the Border

Jamie Abrams

Jamie R. Abrams, Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Louisville, just posted her article, Enforcing Masculinities at the Border.

Abstract:  “American men have no history,”declared pioneering masculinities scholar, Michael Kimmel. Masculinities, the study of how men relate to each other and construct their identities, can be used as a powerful sociological and legal tool to understand institutions, power structures, and human relations. While the history of American immigration law has revealed rich multi-dimensional narratives of class, race,and domestic and international politics, sparse historical work has considered the masculinities dimensions of immigration law. This Article considers how unpacking the masculinities dimensions of our paradigmatic shifts in immigration policy might offer an additional--even unifying—dimension to previously disparate and divergent immigration laws worthy of further research.

This Article suggests that our immigration laws and policies reinforce dominant masculinities at the border by excluding marginalized masculinities and admitting those who comport with dominant masculinity norms. This Article considers whether the state is not just enforcing immigration laws at its borders but whether it also enforces masculinity norms.

This Article first provides a brief overview of hegemonic, dominant, and marginalized masculinities concepts, revealing the insider/outsider dimensions of masculinities theory that are relevant to its application to immigration law. It then provides examples of how our immigration laws enforce masculinities—admitting immigrant populations that conform to dominant conceptions of western masculinities and excluding marginalized masculinities. Finally, this Article notes the implications of this thesis to modern immigration law in its endorsement of a masculinized state, and the enforcement of a masculinized conception of citizenship. This Article introduces the relevance of this methodology. There is indeed rich and robust work to be done to test these theories and to reveal the value in and the limits of this unitary narrative. This Article concludes that it is critical to make masculinities visible in immigration law and policy to understand how dominant masculine imperatives shape citizenship itself.

Very interesting article! Download the full article here.


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