Gender Relations in Confined Spaces

Gender Relations in Confined Spaces. Conditions, Scope and Forms of Violence against Women in Conflict-related Refugee Camps

Genderbeziehungen im begrenzten Raum. Bedingungen, Ausmaß und Formen von sexueller Gewalt an Frauen in kriegsbedingten Flüchtlingslagern


Funding: German Foundation for Peace Research (Deutsche Stiftung Friedensforschung, DSF)
Duration: 09/2013-04/2016
Project lead: Susanne Buckley-Zistel
Project team: Ulrike Krause
Project affiliation: Center for Conflict Studies, Marburg University


Under the lead of Prof. Susanne Buckley-Zistel, the research project entitled Gender Relations in Confined Spaces. Conditions, Scope and Forms of Violence against Women in Conflict-related Refugee Camps focuses on the nexus between displacement, gender relations and sexual violence in order to analyse the continuum of violence in post-conflict contexts or beyond the remits of war zones. This is based on the argument that many women experience violence in the context of armed conflicts differently since it often occurs outside of the temporal and spatial scopes of violent conflicts. Dichotomies such as before vs. after a cease-fire, public war zones vs. private homes, and enemy combatants vs. trustworthy family members are difficult to maintain. If and how this is manifested in conflict-related refugee camps is therefore an important contribution to gender perspectives in peace and conflict studies.

Our point of departure is the assumption that refugee camps are confined spaces in which gender relations are (re-)negotiated and (re-)defined. This happens within the categories men or women (homosocially) as well as between the categories men and women (heterosocially). Based on Raewyn Connell’s concept of hegemonic masculinity, we assume that life in refugee camps is accompanied by a subjectively perceived degradation of masculinity, which is compensated by using violence against women in the private sphere. The research project seeks to empirically analyse if this is the case. In order to collect empirical data, the project employs a mix of methods from different social science perspectives that promises the best insights into micro- and meso-levels. The field research is based on a composition of participatory observation, problem-oriented and ethnographic interviews, ero-epic dialogues, and group discussions. The triangulation of different methods is to serve the validation of results and to obtain additional insights.

The final report is available online via the DSF research series: Link

Comments are closed.