Invisible Bodies and Innocent Goods – A Critical Analysis of the Social Construction of Gender by German Law Enforcement Authorities

Authors: Sarah Klosterkamp*, University of Muenster
Topics: Political Geography, Gender, Middle East
Keywords: Feminist Geography, Political Geography, Legal Geography, Court Ethnography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: 8223, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Syrian Rebel Groups such as Ahrar ash Sham, the so-called Islamic State or Junud ash Sham depend on globally linked networks and logistics to exchange personnel, goods and information to open up financial resources. European Border security authorities and many researchers in this field, have so far mainly focused on male bodies who support logistics networks and supply chains. The specific role of juvenile, female or aged bodies are mostly overlooked. This becomes evident in state protection proceedings involving German Foreign Fighters in the Syrian civil war, which are mainly brought against male defendants.

In this presentation I draw on empirical material gathered during an ethnographic observation of 22 trials between October 2015 and April 2017 at Higher Regional Courts in Germany. My examples illustrate to what extent the European border security apparatus as well as the German law enforcement share a racialized and gender biased focus on Islamic terrorism, that exclusively aimes at young, 'black' men with a salafi-jihadist background. It ignores women- related activities for reasons of traditional conceptions of socially expected roles of motherhood, home and caregiving.

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