Building on various theoretical perspectives on borders and bodies this chapter contributes to the critique of racialised, hardening boundaries and processes of exclusion that occur in the context of obligations and entitlements to health and wellbeing in Europe. It presents findings from a collaborative ethnographic account from a multi-diverse neighbourhood in Bochum and its inhabitants’ access to health from the critical vantage point of that community. The research for this article was conducted by members of the City Lab Bochum and the results emerge from three years of intermittent ethnographic research the author conducted in the neighbourhood between 2015 and 2019. It shows, with Fassin, how borders as external territorial frontiers interrelate with multiple boundaries as internal social categorisations and affect migrants in the study area. An ethnographic account of a newly migrated family indicates the necessity for wider structural changes that decisively reduce or even put to an end peoples’ informal exclusion from healthcare. Moreover, this research depicts how health-related interventions for people living in precarious contexts should not be limited to the healthcare system but rather address a wider institutional landscape. Based on the findings the chapter comes up with concrete strategies to counter peoples’ uncertain futures by creating space for radical diversity.
In Norway, the majority population has generally accepted and internalised gender egalitarian values. Public childcare is universal and plays an important role in work–family balance. Among the majority population, the male breadwinner model is being replaced by a double earner/double carer model. As a result, gender traditional family models have been contested and are often associated with migrant families. Local care and welfare policies aim to integrate women and migrants into the labour market and children into local communities. For migrant mothers who come from European contexts dominated by the Catholic church and gender conservative family values, developing new care practices in Norway can cause social tensions, transnational challenges, as well as individual empowerment. This chapter discusses how local gender policies and access to universal childcare arrangements in Norway influence Polish and Italian mothers’ migration experiences.
Narratives of Ukrainian solo female migrants in Italy
Based on interviews and ethnographic research with Ukrainian female domestic workers in Italy, this chapter looks into the often taboo topic – intimate, romantic, and sexual relations formed in the course of migration by women migrating alone. These relations are often seen as a side product of ‘proper care-work’ and as ‘inappropriate transgressions’. The chapter aims to maintain the complexity of such encounters by contextualising a wide range of intimate relationships as power relations of uncertain economic situations, dismantling the dichotomy of paid vs unpaid sexual relations and scrutinising the boundaries of care work. Drawing a complex picture of sexual, romantic, and intimate encounters between migrant women and local men with various motivations, degrees of exploitation, and rewards on both sides, this chapter steps away from the ‘trauma of separation from family’ perspective, often dominating the discussion of the experience of female migration, and shifts the gaze towards women’s personal ambitions and desires in migration.
In this chapter we provide an in-depth discussion of the main concepts and ideas on which the book is based. We start out with an outline of the historical background, where we look at movements and critical events in European and world history which led to change in both geo-political and ideological/conceptual borders. We move on to a conceptual discussion of borders and border regimes where among other themes we discuss how borders can be both hard militarised places and porous grey spaces, and both physical and imagined sites. This develops into an examination of ways that borders as territorial frontiers and boundaries as internal categorisations are closely aligned, and how these structural and ideological parallels operate in tandem both for those who cross borders and also for citizens within those borders. We explore these parallels in relation to regimes of intimate care, concepts of moral economy, entitlement and ‘deserving-ness’, and processes of reproduction of both persons and domains.
Politics, values, and in/exclusionary practices in assisted reproduction
This chapter analyses politics and areas of inclusionary/exclusionary practices in reproductive healthcare – in particular assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) experienced by recent Polish migrant women in Berlin and Oslo. It is based on ethnographic fieldwork, conducted among Polish female migrants. First, it discusses reproductive politics in Poland in relation to ARTs and discourses on migration, depopulation, and reproduction. Migration from Poland often leads to improvement in reproductive rights because migrants gain access to programmes which are not (or are less) available in present-day Poland. Second, it analyses whether access to ARTs abroad is easy, what migrating Polish women think about ART reproduction, and whether they are aware of and influenced by the discourse on moral governmentality enforced by the Catholic church and conservative groups in Poland. It argues that increasing mobility and transnational lifestyle may result in challenges over access to local healthcare systems but also create new solutions. The experiences of a few women (and couples) show that there are aspects of power and agency in both inclusionary and exclusionary situations of regulating human bodies in the sphere of reproduction. Therefore, migration leads to dynamic situations, ambiguities, and constraints in gendered reproductive rights and related ideologies.
Tracing sources of recent neo-conservatism in Poland
‘Gender ideology’, an umbrella term covering sex education, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, and gender mainstreaming, figures at the heart of various political conflicts in Poland (and throughout Central Europe) and is presented as the major threat to the nation. Political analysts assert that the attack on ‘gender ideology’ contributed significantly to the electoral victory of the radical right in Poland, in 2015. This chapter traces the historical roots of the current attack on ‘gender ideology’ and argues that it had already started by the mid-1980s when the Communist Party, hoping to win the battle over young’s people hearts against the Catholic church, published a progressive sex education handbook to be used in all Polish high schools. The publication ignited a heated debate: reviewers called it ‘the handbook of masturbation and defloration’ and warned about its demoralising effects. Conservative critics explicitly equated sexuality and gender with issues of national belonging, mobilising opposition around these concepts. This chapter argues that it was at this moment in the 1980s when current conservative thinking about gender and sexuality vis-à-vis the nation was born and shows that recent neo-conservative approaches towards gender and sexuality have in fact been forged over the last three decades.
In the Catholic areas of Europe, the human remains (both their bones and the
fabrics they touched) of persons considered to have been exceptional are usually
stored for transformation into relics. The production and the reproduction of
the object-relic takes place within monasteries and is carried out firstly on
the material level. In this article I intend to present in detail, from an
anthropological standpoint, the practices used to process such remains, the role
of the social actors involved and the political-ecclesiastical dynamics
connected with them. Owing to obvious difficulties in accessing enclosed
communities, such practices are usually overlooked in historiographical and
ethno-anthropological analyses, while they should instead be considered the most
important moment in the lengthy process intended to give form and meaning to
remains, with a view to their exhibition and use in ritual.
Florence Carré, Aminte Thomann, and Yves-Marie Adrian
In Normandy, near Rouen, in Tournedos-sur-Seine and Val-de-Reuil, two adult
skeletons thrown into wells during the Middle Ages have been studied. The wells
are located at two separate sites just 3 km apart. Both sites consist of
clustered settlements inhabited from the seventh to the tenth century and
arranged around a cemetery. The backfill of the well shafts contains animal
remains, but also partially or completely articulated human bodies. In
Val-de-Reuil, the incomplete skeleton of a man, probably representing a
secondary deposition, had traces of a violent blow on the skull, certainly with
a blunt weapon. In Tournedos-sur-Seine, a woman thrown in headfirst had several
impact points and bone fractures on the skull that could have been caused by
perimortem mistreatment or a violent death. After a detailed description of the
two finds and a contextualisation in the light of similar published cases, we
will discuss the possible scenarios for the death and deposition of the
individuals as well as their place in their communities.