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Delicate Transaction of Neo-liberal Policies to Irregular Streams in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Region, 1989-2005*

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image of African and Asian Studies
For more content, see Journal of Asian and African Studies.

AbstractThis article argues that neo-liberal development policies and related political and cultural crises in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries result in making men and women face unprecedented economic hardships, hence the consequent massive migration. In these instances the dramatic decline in women’s social status through which bodies are represented and understood to mesh with dominant ideology has created a situation favorable to traffickers to lure them into the web of irregular migration, making them easy victims to exploitation and abuses. Using data from CIS Statistic Committee, and textual analysis methods we analyze the pattern of CIS regular and irregular migration streams for the period of 1989-2005. This article discusses the relevance of textual analysis to an appreciation of a way in which emigration and neo liberal policy leaves its marks on the bodies of poor women who are then interpreted as pathological “others” in need of further public and material control, is evidenced by the fact that over half of the world’s migrants are women. Since labor is not regarded as a commodity, the term ‘irregular’ tends to criminalize migrants and fails to capture the comprehensive and different dimensions of irregularity. An important lesson learned from this study is translating gender-aware poverty reduction policies into gender-responsive action, remains a great challenge not only for CIS but also elsewhere, due to the paucity of relevant gender-disaggregated data.

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