Queer/Migration: An Unruly Body of Scholarship

Queer/Migration: An Unruly Body of Scholarship

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Most scholarship, policymaking, service provision, activism, and cultural work remain organized around the premise that migrants are heterosexuals (or on their way to becoming so) and queers are citizens (even though second-class ones). Where do queer migrants figure in these frameworks and activities? How do we conceptualize queer migration—which is at once a set of grounded processes involving heterogeneous social groups and a series of theoretical and social justice questions that implicate but extend beyond migration and sexuality strictly defined, and that refuse to attach to bodies in any strictly identitarian manner—in order to challenge and reconfigure the dominant frameworks? Queer migration scholarship, which has flourished since the 1990s, takes on these and other ambitious questions.

An unruly body of inquiry that is potentially vast in scope, queer migration scholarship participates in and contributes to wide-ranging debates that traverse multiple fields and disciplines. It has been fueled by the fact that international migration and related transnationalizing processes have transformed every facet of our social, cultural, economic, and political lives in recent decades. Sexuality scholarship has started to explore how "the age of migration" is centrally implicated in the construction, regulation, and reworking of sexual identities, communities, politics, and cultures. At the same time, migration scholarship, which addresses immigration, emigration, transnationalism, diaspora, refugees, and asylum seekers, has begun to theorize how sexuality constitutes a "dense transfer point for relations of power" that structure all aspects of international migration.3 Queer migration scholarship, which explores the multiple conjunctions between sexuality and migration, has drawn from and enriched these bodies of research—as well as feminist, racial, ethnic, postcolonial, public health, and globalization studies, among other fields.


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  • Eithne Luibhéid. “Queer/Migration: An Unruly Body of Scholarship,” GLQ (special issue on “Queer/Migration”) Vol. 14, Nos. 2-3 (April 2008), pp.169-190.