I am going, with or without you: Autonomy in Bolivian Transnational Migrations

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Autonomy has often been seen as a precondition for achieving gender equality, yet feminist scholarship has been rather ambivalent towards it. In this article, I explore this ambivalence by drawing on the experiences of migrant women, particularly mothers, focusing on the ways in which they negotiated their mobility with their partners. By analysing women's experiences of migration within a context of multi-sited and longitudinal, itinerant ethnography, I historicise their life accounts and place them within a broader framework of social and economic structural changes. On this basis I explore the concept of autonomy, particularly in relation to the exercise of women's agency within a context of market-oriented neoliberal reforms. I also question the potential of women's autonomy for gender equality and argue that there are at least two reasons for feminist scholars to continue being ambivalent towards autonomy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-177
Number of pages17
JournalGender, Place and Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • migration, autonomy, transnationalism, gender, Bolivia

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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