The Securitization of Migration and Refugee Women: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Securitization of Migration and Refugee Women

1st Edition

By Alison Gerard


272 pages | 12 B/W Illus.

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Humanised accounts of restrictions on mobility are rarely the focus of debates on irregular migration. Very little is heard from refugees themselves about why they migrate, their experiences whilst entering the EU or how they navigate reception conditions upon arrival, particularly from a gendered perspective. The Securitization of Migration and Refugee Women fills this gap and explores the journey made by refugee women who have travelled from Somalia to the EU to seek asylum. This book reveals the humanised impact of the securitization of migration, the dominant policy response to irregular migration pursued by governments across the Globe.

The Southern EU Member State of Malta finds itself on the frontline of policing and securing Europe’s southern external borders against transnational migrants and preventing migrants’ on-migration to other Member States within the EU. The securitization of migration has been responsible for restricting access to asylum, diluting rights and entitlements to refugee protection, and punishing those who arrive in the EU without valid passports –a visibly racialised and gendered population. The stories of the refugee women interviewed for this research detail the ways in which refugee protection is being eroded, selectively applied and in some cases specifically designed to exclude.

In contrast to the majority of migration literature, which has largely focused on the male experience, this book focuses on the experiences of refugee women and aims to contribute to the volume of work dedicated to analysing borders from the perspective of those who cross them. This research strengthens existing criminological literature and has the potential to offer insights to policy makers around the world. It will be of interest to academics and students interested in International Crime and Justice, Securitisation, Refugee Law and Border Control, as well as the general reader.


‘The Securitization of Migration and Refugee Women provides compelling evidence that a gendered analysis is essential for understanding the unique character of refugee women’s social exclusion, economic vulnerability, health risks, and experiences of danger and violence at all stages of their migration journey. Eloquently written and carefully researched, it is essential reading for those interested in migration and refugee policy, border enforcement, gender and human rights.’ - Nancy A. Wonders, Northern Arizona University, USA

‘Alison Gerard has conducted an exemplary piece of feminist research, charting the fraught journeys of Somali women as they seek a secure future in Europe. The book combines rigorous socio-legal analysis, bold theoretical framing and unique data obtained by "hanging out" with Somali women who have negotiated the hazardous route to Malta. Using powerful first-hand accounts Gerard is able to bring home the true meaning, in human terms, of the securitization of borders.’ - Leanne Weber, Senior Research Fellow, Monash University, Australia

'The thorough analysis provided by Gerard makes this book a highly recommended read for a wide-ranging audience, from NGO personnel to policy-makers and legislators. Overall, this book achieves its main goal and contributes significantly to the debate on the tensions between the securitization of migration and the refugee protection framework.' - Angelo Tramountanis, Border Criminologies

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction: Irregular migration, women and Malta Chapter 2. The securitization of migration: deterring, punishing, and reducing the aggregate risk of global mobility Chapter 3. Regimes in conflict: refugee protection and the securitization of migration – a gendered analysis Chapter 4. Violent and circuitous pathways: women’s experiences in exiting Somalia Chapter 5. From Somalia to Malta: violence and survival in transit Chapter 6. Punishment for ‘crimes of arrival’: women’s experiences of Malta Chapter 7. When will the journey end? Cycles of containment and control in selecting individuals for onward migration Chapter 8. Regimes in conflict: the impact of the securitization of migration on refugee women – a humanized account.

About the Author

Dr Alison Gerard is a lawyer and Senior Lecturer in Justice Studies at Charles Sturt University. Her research program examines the impact of the securitisation of migration, particularly its impact on refugee women. Dr Gerard’s wider research program includes analysis of intersections of gender, race and class including specific areas such as deaths in custody, sex work and ‘crimmigration’ practices in Australia. Alison is a contributor to the Border Observatory Project hosted by Monash University, Australia and Border Criminologies hosted by Oxford University, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship

Globalizing forces have had a profound impact on the nature of contemporary criminal justice and law more generally. This is evident in the increasing salience of borders and mobility in the production of illegality and social exclusion. Immigration and its control are highly charged topics in contemporary crime policy and politics. In the past two decades such matters have become subjects of extensive scholarly analysis throughout the social sciences. Though criminology has been a relative latecomer to this body of work, it is now possible to speak of an emerging ‘criminology of mobility.

Routledge Studies in Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship showcases contemporary studies that connect criminological scholarship to migration studies and explores the intellectual resonances between the two. It provides an opportunity to reflect on the theoretical and methodological challenges posed by mass mobility and its control. By doing that, it aims to chart an intellectual space and establish a theoretical tradition within criminology to house scholars of immigration control, who have traditionally published either in general criminological or in anthropological, sociological, refugee studies, human rights and other publications.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology