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Palgrave Macmillan

White Migrations

Gender, Whiteness and Privilege in Transnational Migration

ISBN 9781137289186
Publication Date May 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Migration, Diasporas and Citizenship

The migrant is often thought of as a non-westerner in search for a better future in Europe or the United States. From a multi-sited ethnography with Swedish migrant women in the US, Singapore and Spain, this book explores the intersections of racial and class privilege and gender vulnerabilities in contemporary feminized migration from or within 'the West'. Through an analysis of 'white migration', Catrin Lundström develops theoretical tools to understand the dynamics that shape the women's lives as wealthy housewives, expatriate wives and lifestyle migrants. By shifting the gaze towards privileged migrants, Lundström illustrates how race shapes contemporary transnational migration and how white privilege is reproduced through family formation, expatriate geographies or 'international communities' in response to the shifting boundaries of whiteness in different national and regional settings. Looking at how whiteness migrates through a transnational lens the book fills a gap in literature on race and migration, presenting some of the complexities of the current global power relations and the contextual variations that surround these.

Catrin Lundström is Associate Professor in Sociology and Future Research Leader at the Department of Studies of Social Change and Culture, Linköping University, Sweden.

1. White Migrations: a Theoretical Framework
2. A Multi-sited Ethnography of Whiteness
3. Doing Similarity in a White-Women's Network
4. Hierarchies of Whiteness in the United States
5. Racial Divisions in Expatriate Lives in Singapore
6. Disintegrating Whiteness in Southern Spain
7. Gender and Whiteness in Motion
8. Migration Studies Revisited


"White Migrations is [...] a remarkably precise and lucid analysis of heterosexuality in its intersection with Swedish whiteness. The heterosexuality of her informants is crucial to how their white privilege moves with them, and to the forms it takes in the new contexts where they build their lives. The very specificity of the heterosexual female embodiment of Swedish whiteness is constantly in focus, despite the fact that all Lundström's informants appear to be straight. Heterosexuality is not conflated withgender, and it is not universalized. Although this should be expected in feminist research, it is still a rare accomplishment. Lundström does not make a point of it, but the job she does of describing the specificity of living normative lives in relation tosexuality makes the book a contribution to sexuality studies as well as to migration studies and critical whiteness studies.
"For gender studies, White Migrations offers a lesson in how gender, race, class, and sexuality are co-constituted in both the private and the public sphere, and how Nordic whiteness in its heterosexual female variety produces particular lifeconditions (depending on destination), for those who migrate with it. To silence race in studies of this group is deeply problematic because it extends the naturalization of white privilege. Lundström's book gives an excellent example of how privileged lives can be studied without naturalizing their standpoint. It will be extremely valuable for gender studies scholars who want to explore how white privilege becomes significant in gendered ways, and how it can be understood by those who benefit from it." - Stine H. Bang Svendsen, Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, 23(2)
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