'German girls are really nice' - gender as structure in a migration context: West German migration to Western Australia in the 1950s and 1960s

Sandra Eubel

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

[Truncated abstract] This thesis explores gender as a social structure (comparable in its effect to other structures such as race, ethnicity and class) and its impact on the migration of German-born women to Australia in the 1950s and 1960s. I argue, that the concept of 'gender culture', a catalogue of 'appropriate' behavior societies create for and with male and female members, influenced significantly migration opportunities and policies, and infused every aspect of the migration experience of these women. In my thesis I investigate how women operated under the given constraints of gender culture in West Germany and Australia and reproduced, arranged themselves with or rejected these norms in a migration context. The study is drawing on methodological approaches developed in women's and gender studies, oral history and anthropology. In the past three decades research on female migration has blossomed: scholars today come from numerous disciplinary backgrounds, apply various methodologies and have in general turned their attention to gender as a category of analysis. The migration of German-born people to Australia in the post-War period, however, still awaits such a gender-focused analysis even though German-born migrants represented the third largest non-English speaking group of migrants between 1945 and 1961 in Western Australia. My thesis is a starting point in addressing this gap in exploring how gender impacted on the migration of German-born women. My thesis demonstrates that a previous understanding of women as dependent, secondary migrants does not hold up to closer historical scrutiny which is based on feminist oral history, re-reads of archival material, and is informed by recent developments in the interdisciplinary field that is migration studies, such as transnationalism and the study of emotions and social relations.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2010

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