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Gendering Survival from the Margins

Timeline: October 2022-September 2026

Funding institution: Swiss National Science Foundation, grant number 100017_212265



This research project examines the gendered practices of survival among refugees and migrants, a particularly disenfranchised population at the margins of the modern nation-state and the globalized neoliberal economy. Despite their centrality, practices of survival are typically taken for granted and rarely analyzed in International Relations, in part because they concern populations at the margins of the state and economy, and in part, because of the feminisation of survival practices. The objective of this study is to rectify this neglect through research on refugees and migrants in Turkey and India.


Contents and Objectives of the Research

Everyday practices of social reproduction, caring, provisioning and providing safety are central to human survival. Yet, for those having to flee their countries securing these goals becomes a struggle. This project aims to understand the everyday practices of survival of refugees and migrants struggling against the dehumanizing, violent and gendered rules of the nation-state system and the globalized neoliberal economy. The project is divided into three modules. The first module will advance feminist understandings of survival practices as gendered and as a form of social reproduction, encompassing the activities and relations that ensure the production of life and protection within transnational migration circuits. The second module explores survival practices among Syrian refugees and migrants in Turkey in the context of uneven access to citizenship entitlements and labor informalisation. The third module examines survival practices among Rohingya refugees in India who face insecurities because of their statelessness.


Scientific and Social Context of the Research Project

This project contributes to feminist IR scholarship by emphasizing the significance of social reproduction for human survival. Further, it integrates literature from migration research, political economy and security studies. It also contributes to policy debates by highlighting how the survival practices of those at the margins can form the basis for developing new ways of organizing economies and the interstate system.


Banner: Sweater of a school-aged girl who is accompanying her mother to the field during the 2022 cotton harvest, Şanlıurfa province, Türkiye.