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Masculine Aspirations, Migrant Realities: Disciplining Undocumented South Asian Men In Greek Agriculture

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Sir John A. Macdonald Hall
Room: 2
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Dr. Reena Kukreja, Adjunct Assistant Professor, Queen's

In this talk, I argue that the agrarian crisis in Pakistan and India has created a crisis of masculinity for small and marginal farm-holding men by stripping away their manhood, defined by the ‘breadwinner’ ideal. Migration overseas emerges as a compensatory masculine strategy to reinstate lost manly stature. In recent years, these men have filled a vital labour gap in Greece’s agrarian economy, the revitalization of which is also attributed to the large-scale use of cheap and flexible migrant force. Drawing upon my research in rural Greece, I trace the processes through which the disciplinary mechanisms of migration and labour regimes, contingent on ‘illegality’ of status and exercised through emasculatory spectacles of deportation, succeed in reinforcing abject masculinity within these undocumented male migrants. The fear of deportation and loss of masculine stature works efficiently to enforce labour compliancy from these men’s racialised labouring bodies. I contend that the disciplinary power is also linked to racism, Islamophobia and the Greek ethno-nationalist project as it enforces a self-imposed discipline of invisibility from Greek public spaces by these men. Lastly, I foreground the novel use of a South Asian sport, Kabaddi, an embodiment of the men’s rural cultural identity, as a defiant act of masculine assertion and a highly visible resistance strategy against the disciplinary power of deportability.

Barbra Brousseau
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