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Normative, agitated, and rebellious femininities among East and Central African refugee women

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This article discusses femininities among East and Central African refugee women self-settled in Nairobi, Kenya. It argues that while normative approaches to refugee studies depict a homogeneous refugee femininity inherently synonymous with vulnerability and ‘victimhood,’ femininity among refugee women in Nairobi is heterogeneous, fluid, and complex. It is premised on individual refugee women's marital statuses in relation to economic situation. The article argues that femininity is a constraint in some instances and a resource in others, such that what exists among the refugee women is not a single femininity but a continuum of femininities. Specifically, the article conceptualizes femininity under three categories, namely: normative, agitated, and rebellious femininities.
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Keywords: auto-vigilancia; feminidad; femininity; mujeres refugiadas; oportunidades; opportunities; refugee women; resistance; resistencia; self-policing; vulnerabilidad; vulnerability

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Social Development in Africa, University of Johannesburg, Bunting Road Campus, P.O. Box 524, Auckland Park 2006, Johannesburg, South Africa

Publication date: April 21, 2015

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