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(Dis)(em)placing gender at Ukwimi: refugee resettlement and repatriation in eastern Zambia

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There is growing recognition within feminist scholarship that managing displacement is a highly contested, politicized, and gendered process. This article seeks to contribute by demonstrating that the processes of resettlement and repatriation (both thought of as ‘solutions’ to displacement) are also contested, politicized, and gendered. My analysis is situated within feminist geopolitics and includes empirical data collected from interviews with and observations of Mozambican/Angolan refugees, their hosts, and institutional actors at Ukwimi Refugee Settlement (URS), Zambia. Specifically, the discussion focuses on two realities. First, that resettlement to formal, organized settlements (like URS) actively displaces gender dynamics, as illustrated by the case of Mozambican refugees resettled to URS. Second, that large-scale, organized repatriation also displaces gender relationships in profound ways, as demonstrated by the large-scale repatriation of Angolan refugees from URS. In the midst of multiple displacements, the daily (and highly gendered) struggles of people at URS reflect the concrete ways in which refugees and their hosts actively seek to emplace themselves at URS.
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Keywords: Zambia; desplazamiento; displacement; feminist geopolitics; geopolítica feminista; refugees; refugiados; repatriación; repatriation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Geography and Urban Planning, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, 800 Algoma Blvd, Oshkosh, WI, 54901, USA

Publication date: September 14, 2015

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