Department of Global Development Studies


Global Development Studies

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Undocumented South Asian Male Migrants in Greece: Understanding Masculinity, Love, and Work in Troubled Times

Energy Democracy Windmills on Wolfe Island
Bangladeshi Migrants discuss inadequate housing with Reena in Manolada, Greece

Dr. Reena Kukreja’s research on undocumented Bangladeshi, Indian, and Pakistani migrant agricultural workers in Greece examines how culturally-specific masculine norms are harnessed to enforce labour docility. It situates these men’s migrant precarity, labour disciplining, and notions of failed masculinity within the context of heightened border securitization, restrictive family reunification laws, and discourses of Islamophobia, racism, and ethno-nationalism prevalent in Greece. The research seeks to answer questions such as how does migration emerge as a compensatory masculine strategy to help migrant men shed the stigma of failed manhood? How do regimes of temporary labour and border securitization harness cultural norms of hegemonic masculinity for disciplining labour? How do masculine hierarchies within disparate groups of migrant men, based on colonial and postcolonial encounters, differing religions, class, and cultural norms get reproduced, refashioned, or dismantled in the supposedly neutral space of host countries such as Greece, where discourses of Islamophobia and xenophobia collectively other them? How does sexuality and desire, heterosexual or homoerotic get articulated? Do these men engage in a politics of protest? This study is significant as the numbers of migrants increase globally while populist backlash against racialised poor migrants gains strength. The focus on masculinity addresses an urgent need to understand the interconnections of migration to masculinity, impulses to stay or move on, and how capital manipulates masculine norms and cultures of precarious migrants to maximize profit. Research sites comprise of six rural regions of Argos, Megara, Manolada, Skala-Lakonia, Thiva, and Crete.