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Understanding the Syrian Refugees’ Particular Experiences in Turkey through Gender and Health Issues
In this talk, I aim to explore the common patterns in social science articles which focus on gender and health issues of Syrian refugees in Turkey, and discuss how these works contribute to the refugee studies, gender studies, medical anthropology and medical sociology. Syrian refugees are particularly stigmatized and experience inequalities and discriminations in accessing reproductive and sexual health care services. Within the framework of anti-refugee, anti-Syrian sentiments, Syrian women were often blamed for giving birth to too many children, expecting the Turkish state to take care of them, in the mainstream and social media. Rapes during the migration process and unwanted pregnancies, early marriages and problems in accessing birth control are other issues discussed in the literature with respect to Syrian women’s sexual and reproductive health problems. Through an applied anthropology perspective, the talk will analyze the theoretical frameworks of these articles in terms of what other social and cultural concepts the authors benefited from in studying gender and health, such as precarity, dignity and safety. It will also delve into specific methodological issues, including the problems the authors experienced in their research process. For instance, many authors state that they could not obtain official permissions to study, conduct interviews with political authorities or had access to the refugee camps, which led them to develop new strategies in their research methods. These problems are also related to the larger political and social context in contemporary Turkey, which also shape the popular ideological conceptions of refugees and their everyday experiences. The talk will also address the theoretical and conceptual gaps in this literature, and how this literature may help in making the Syrian refugee voices heard more and experiences understood better in academic context and public realm in the future.
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