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Title: Gender and migration : Armenian women's experiences 1990 to 2010
Author: Giorgi, Carina Karapetian
ISNI:       0000 0004 2737 4598
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is an in-depth examination and analysis into the lives of Armenian women migrants to the United States from 1990 to 2010, which has been an unexamined growing phenomenon and constitutes a disruption in conventional gender relations within Armenia. The work disrupts the idea of a more homogenised Armenian diaspora in places like the U.S. Through my research I found that some Armenian women have become the sole breadwinners in their families, defying traditional gender roles and expectations. I also discovered that migration and exposures to lived experiences outside of Armenia provoked a re-examination of Armenian nationality and culture. The thesis also looks more generally at the conditions and attitudes of women in Armenia which have led to migration. Examining the differences and similarities in female and male migratory patterns uncovers the skill levels of the women I interviewed, the type of work available to them, and the cultural changes they negotiate in moving from one society to another. I place the work they do outside the home in the wider context of their domestic responsibilities; this shows how many women have been forced to become breadwinners in addition to their domestic duties.Using semi-structured interviews, ethnographic observation, and contemporary journalistic sources, I was better able to cross-reference and complement my primary interview sources. I conducted 11 individual interviews, one group interview consisting of 9 women at Los Angeles Valley College and two group interviews consisting of 7 women at Glendale Community College. I found that the women I interviewed were frequently employed at jobs below their educational qualifications and that they were often doing work that reinforced their dependence on kin or members of the Armenian community in the United States. Several of the women were disillusioned by the fact that members of the Armenian American community were inclined to exploit their vulnerability as new arrivals. Instead of a homogenous diasporic community I discovered heterogeneity in terms of social status and length of stay in the U.S. I also found diversity among the individuals’ responses to their new circumstances. While some of the women I interviewed accepted their new, fast-paced lives in America, others could not and were critical of American individualism and competition. Some of these women returned to Armenia, and I discuss their responses as well as efforts by the Armenian government to migrants back to Armenia. The women interviewed highlight the myriad ways Armenian women experienced migration, influenced by a post-genocide culture and strong ties to family and home. This project fills the void that many scholars have left untouched. I provide research and data about Armenian women’s lived experiences, shed light on their migration from home and often times back, and the resilience of Armenian women.
Supervisor: Kelemen, Paul; Rowbotham, Sheila Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available