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“Unaccompanied Pappas”: The securitisation of masculinity in the European refugee crisis

Konferensbidrag (offentliggjort, men ej förlagsutgivet)
Författare Anja K. Franck
Harriet Gray
Publicerad i International Studies Association Annual Convention, Baltimore, 22-25 March, 2017
Publiceringsår 2017
Publicerad vid Institutionen för globala studier, freds- och utvecklingsforskning
Institutionen för globala studier
Språk en
Ämnesord Securitization of migration, masculinities, UK Press, European "refugee crisis"
Ämneskategorier Internationell Migration och Etniska Relationer (IMER), Freds- och utvecklingsforskning


This paper employs the lens of securitisation theory to offer a critical reading of the gender representations found in British and Swedish media and policy discourse on the ongoing European refugee crisis. Media coverage and policy statements have given considerable focus to the gender imbalance among refugees, particularly in the early stages of the current crisis when the significant majority of those making the dangerous journey to Europe were young men. In making sense of these narratives, we begin from the observation that the gendered representations which emerge from situations of conflict and upheaval are not merely incidental; rather, they are political constructs, and they have political functions and implications. We argue that (racialised) refugee masculinity has become securitised through gendered discourse which presents refugee men as an existential threat to the European societies which refugees hope to reach and which cases doubt on the legitimacy of their claims to victimhood. As such, we explore the misfit between the erasure of the possibility of masculine vulnerability and family-focused identification inherent in such securitised representations and refugee men’s own characterisation of themselves as “unaccompanied Pappas” – as isolated and vulnerable subjects trying to do the best for their families.

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