Masculinity, Sexuality and Illegal Migration: Human Smuggling from Pakistan to Europe, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Masculinity, Sexuality and Illegal Migration

Human Smuggling from Pakistan to Europe, 1st Edition

By Ali Nobil Ahmad


230 pages

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Masculinity, Sexuality and Illegal Migration makes use of extensive new empirical material to explore the phenomena of migration, human smuggling and illegal work, in order to develop a compelling account of international migration, linking it with irrational, risky economic behaviour and male sexual desire. Interviews conducted with successive waves of Pakistani immigrants in the UK and Italy, together with ethnographic fieldwork amongst local journalists, immigration officials and smugglers in Pakistan, serve as the basis for an interdisciplinary comparative analysis of illegal migration across time and space. Challenging the received idea that labour migration is driven purely by rational economic forces, Masculinity, Sexuality and Illegal Migration draws upon psychoanalytic social theory to examine the roles of masculinity and irrationality in the decision to migrate, thus stimulating a more complex debate about migration's causes and consequences. The arguments it makes raise wider questions about the folly of thinking about economic concerns in isolation from other aspects of human experience. As such, this book will appeal to those with research interests in economics, social theory, migration, gender and sexuality, and race and ethnicity.


'Drawing on extensive ethnography and literature on psychology, desire, sexuality and masculinity, this book sheds new light on the migrant experience. Ahmad builds a brilliantly subversive critique of fashionable models of migration, debunking neoliberal optimism, transnationalism and social capitalism. A refreshingly original analysis of labour migration into the underworld of the European economy.' Russell King, Sussex University, UK 'Whatever direction migration studies take, the way scholars and policy makers conceive of the causes and consequences of male migration will have to include considerations about desire and sexuality. Identifying the link between sexuality, labour process and the persistence of patriarchal social relations, which this study does so brilliantly, is key to accounting for contemporary global migrations.' Rutvica Andrijasevic, University of Leicester, UK 'Ahmad takes seriously what has been called ’migration culture’, setting out a new and original theoretical model that sheds light on why so many thousands of young men from Pakistani Punjab have set out in the last decades for an increasingly perilous journey across central Asia to the West… His data are intimate and sustained, which is itself a considerable achievement given the level of familiarity needed for an illegal migrant to speak trustingly about his situation… it is very strong on human smuggling, travel, transit and the new migrant economies in Europe, and offers richer analysis of any of these areas than any other work I can think of.' Journal of Punjab Studies 'The writing is both articulate and engaging… In many ways the author helps to fill a gap in the migration literature by providing a more complete picture of migration practices. In summation, this is a must read for any scholar interested in a novel approach to the study of migration and the application of psychoanalytic theory to the investigation of migration practices. Further, the commentary on w

About the Author

Ali Nobil Ahmad is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan

About the Series

Studies in Migration and Diaspora

Studies in Migration and Diaspora

Series now in its 20th year

Studies in Migration and Diaspora is a series designed to showcase the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary nature of research in this important field. Volumes in the series cover local, national and global issues and engage with both historical and contemporary events. The books will appeal to scholars, students and all those engaged in the study of migration and diaspora. Amongst the topics covered are minority ethnic relations, transnational movements and the cultural, social and political implications of moving from 'over there', to 'over here'.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Emigration & Immigration
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General