Coping on Women’s Backs. Social capital-vulnerability links through a gender lens

Thieme, Susan; Siegmann, Karin Astrid (2010). Coping on Women’s Backs. Social capital-vulnerability links through a gender lens. Current sociology, 58(5), pp. 715-737. Sage 10.1177/0011392110372732

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Processes of migration are embedded in social networks, more recently conceptualised as social capital, from sending households to migrants’ formal and informal associations at their destinations. These processes are often assumed to reduce individuals, households and economies’ vulnerabilities and thus attract policy-makers’ attention to migration management. The paper aims to conceptualise the gendered interface between social capital and vulnerability. It utilises Bourdieu’s notion of social capital as an analytical starting point. To illuminate our conceptual thoughts we refer to empirical examples from migration research from various Asian countries. Bourdieu’s theory highlights the social construction of gendered vulnerability. It goes beyond that by identifying the investment in symbolic capital of female honour as an indirect investment in social and, ultimately, economic capital. This gender-differentiated unequal investment and these capitals’ incomplete fungibility, though, makes women not just indirect members of social networks but mere objects contributing as ‘symbolic currency’ within them, often without being able to capitalise on the very relations. Based on Bourdieu’s theory, we suggest a shift from the investigation of women’s exclusion from and gender inequality within social networks to an analysis of masculine domination. It appears to be directly associated with the degree of vulnerability that women experience.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Integrative Geography > Unit Geography of Sustainable Development
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Integrative Geography

UniBE Contributor:

Thieme, Susan

ISSN:

0011-3921

Publisher:

Sage

Language:

English

Submitter:

Florian Dolder

Date Deposited:

17 Sep 2018 07:47

Last Modified:

04 Nov 2019 15:13

Publisher DOI:

10.1177/0011392110372732

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.119308

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/119308

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