Claiming Home

Migration Biographies and Everyday Lives of Queer Migrant Women in Switzerland

Through biographical narratives, Claiming Home traces how queer migrant women living in Switzerland navigate often contradictory perspectives on sexuality, gender, and nation. Situated between heteronormative and racialized stereotypes of migrant women on the one hand, and the implicitly white figure of the lesbian on the other, queer migrant women are often rendered ›impossible subjects.‹ Claiming Home maps how they negotiate conflicting loyalties in this field and how they, in their own way, claim a sense of belonging and home.

€54.99 * $65.00 *

7 February 2022, 446 pages
ISBN: 978-3-8376-5691-6

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Tina Büchler

Tina Büchler, Universität Bern, Schweiz

1. Why did you chose this topic?

I was struck by the fact that in Swiss public discourses, immigrant women – whether regular immigrants, asylum claimants, or Sans Papiers – are always already imagined as heterosexual. I was wondering what effect these extremely narrow and heteronormative stereotypes have on immigrant women with alternative sexualities, and what strategies they devise to navigate resulting social exclusions and to claim their place in the world.

2. What new perspectives does your book offer?

The book offers the first extensive ethnography of non-heterosexual immigrant women in Switzerland, and also represents one of the still few ethnographic studies in the international literature engaging with the subject position of queer migrant women. It differentiates the image of migrant women in Switzerland and exposes sexuality as a crucial factor shaping the immigration experience of non-heterosexual immigrants.

3. What makes your topic relevant for current research debates?

This study chiefly contributes to the field of Swiss migration studies, where the assumption persists that migrant women are heterosexual. It shows that sexuality is an extremely consequential and highly structured category of social differentiation that is hardly ever considered in this literature. The book is also a call for queering migration scholarship more generally by analyzing how sexuality shapes the migration experience of all migrants, no matter their sexual identity or orientation.

4. Choose one person you would like to discuss your book with!

With the Swiss Minister of the Interior! I would like to discuss with him how this study could inspire alternatives to or differentiations of existing laws, policies, and practices such as immigration regulations, integration strategies, asylum procedure, housing concepts for asylum claimants, same-sex partnership regulation, or educational and public health concepts, among many other things.

5. Your book summary in one sentence:

»Claiming Home« engages with the experiences of queer migrant women in Switzerland and exposes the relevance of sexuality in migration.

Tina Büchler
Book title
Claiming Home Migration Biographies and Everyday Lives of Queer Migrant Women in Switzerland
transcript Verlag
kart., Dispersionsbindung, 1 SW-Abbildung, 4 Farbabbildungen
Commodity Group
SOC007000 SOC002010 SOC032000
Release date
7 February 2022
Geschlecht, Migration
Migration Studies, Postcolonial Studies, Geography
Migration, Gender, Cultural Anthropology, Gender Studies, Queer Theory, Sociology

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