When Syrian ‘girls’ meet Turkish ‘boys’: mapping gendered stories of mixed marriages
Middle East Critique
29 - 49
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This article explores the gendered experiences and negotiations of Syrian refugee women throughout forced migration processes and the different strategies during family formation that both Turkish men and Syrian women develop in mixed marriages. Its aim is to unravel fluid gendered experiences that are different from ‘reported’ stereotypical stories in the media and ‘constructed’ in the society. By doing so, we argue that the partners’ narratives in these mixed marriages enable us to map the intricate ways in which agency is used and echoed gendered experiences of couples in forced migration and family formation. We conducted in-depth interviews with eight couples voicing different narratives on how they have negotiated with forms of hierarchies, discourses and how they have refined and transformed their refuge. The incorporation of agency into our analysis unpacked (1) heterogeneity of the spouses and their experiences; (2) potential gendered spaces/discourses to be transformed/refined; and (3) nuances of multifaceted impacts of forced migration. Hence, other than macro studies and tantalizing framings in media, this research offers a dynamic reading of gendered experiences to contribute to the growing literature on Syrian refugees.