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Love, Sexuality and Migration: Mapping the Issue(s)

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 17:21 authored by Nicola Mai, Russell King
In our globalised age of accelerating travel and communication, many migrations and other forms of mobility are informed by a variety of emotional, affective and sexual liaisons, attachments and expectations, which can be powerful and necessary motivations for mobility and for the risks taken in crossing boundaries. In some cases, the emotional and sexual motivations involve economic sacrifices; in others, especially for migrants from poor countries, they can also be a means to economic betterment. In yet others the economic imperative of acquiring work and income through migration implies a loss of emotional expressiveness and sexual identity. In this introductory paper to the special issue, we argue for both a 'sexual turn' and an 'emotional turn' in mobility studies, stressing also the intersectionality of these two dimensions. Some of the most productive research on sexuality in relation to mobility comes from 'queer theory', an intrinsically post-structuralist heuristic paradigm which challenges established heteronormative and homonormative categories in favour of an emphasis on the polymorphous and performative dimensions of sexuality. The final part of the article provides an overview of the papers that follow and the themes they explore. Taken together, the papers investigate different globalised intersections of love, sexuality and migration, and the way they inform, and are informed by, existing narratives and practices of migration and settlement.


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