Illegalisation, Masculinity and Intimacy

The Impact of Public Images on Male Migrants with a Precarious Legal Status

  • Anna Wyss
Keywords: masculinity, intimacy, irregular migration, gendered images, marriage


The «Event Köln» (Dietze 2016) has shown how public images of migrant men as being potentially dangerous to women can be exploited for justifying more restrictive migration control. The reported sexual assaults of women by migrant men from North Africa in Cologne on New Year’s Eve 2015 were followed by a moral panic and political demands to expel «those who were believed to endanger post-feminist Germany» (Boulila et al. 2017: 286). This event forms part of a series of other instances in which the supposed protection of women has served nationalist agendas in order to assert more restrictive policies. Such racialised and highly gendered public images – mostly referring to men of a Muslim and / or African background – are mirrored in the narratives and experiences of male migrants with precarious legal status.

Author Biography

Anna Wyss

Since 2013 Anna Wyss has been working as a PhD candidate at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Bern. Her dissertation project («Lost in Transit? Interrupted Journeys of Migrants with a Precarious Legal Status in Europe«) looks at irregular migration and its intersection with asylum migration by way of an ethnographic study.

How to Cite
Wyss, Anna. 2018. “Illegalisation, Masculinity and Intimacy: The Impact of Public Images on Male Migrants With a Precarious Legal Status”. TSANTSA – Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association 23 (May):121-26.