Mobility as survival and freedom: Pandemic, Immobility and its implications for women and queer migrants
Keywords:covid-19, coronavirus, pandemic, shadow pandemic, mobility, immigration, border, ayelet shachar, supervised mobility, mobility restriction, gender and mobility, gender and migration, gendered mobility, gender and pandemic
This paper intends to move beyond the common knowledge of how pandemic restricts mobility at large and provokes us to think about those for whom mobility restriction was a way of life much before the coronavirus arrived. Looking at shadow pandemic of gender-based mobility restrictions of women and non-male actors in conservative societies in South Asia, in this paper I argue that social deconstruction of “immobility” is embedded in the process of gendering the pandemic. Drawing from interviews conducted on the Indian immigrants in Germany over a year during and after the global lock down, this paper explores how covid-induced immobility mimics an already established framework of coerced immobility based on gender that acts as a motivation of migration for women and non-male actors at some level. Referring to Ayelet Shachar’s idea of shifting borders, I locate the moral borders at home as a crucial competitor of physical borders of the barbed wire, that often provokes women and non-male actors to take the leap of faith for survival and better livelihood.
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