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Presentation in DSA 2010 Spatial Capability: for Understanding Gendered Mobility . HaeRan Shin The Bartlett School of Planning University College London. The Aims of this Study.

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presentation in dsa 2010 spatial capability for understanding gendered mobility

Presentation in DSA 2010Spatial Capability: for Understanding Gendered Mobility

HaeRan Shin

The Bartlett School of Planning

University College London

the aims of this study
The Aims of this Study
  • To look at the dialectical relationship that exists between the mobility constraints and adaptive preferences (Korean Christian immigrant women who lived in Los Angeles)
  • To examine the intertwined relationship that exists between social and cultural constraints and an agency’s adaptation.
  • the link between their freedom of mobility and their dependence on God.
the main arguments
The Main Arguments
  • Their consents surrounding these women’s decision to migrate and travel as adaptive preferences are developed in the process of realising that the social limitations are beyond their control.
  • Everyday culture, including Christianity, as a coping mechanism for spatial capability constraints becomes limited capability itself.
    • While such adaptation provides them with relief and temporary empowerment, it contributes to perpetrating their constraints.
gendered mobility
Gendered Mobility
  • Increasingly, scholars have understood gendered mobility as a comprehensive matter of capability rather than merely women’s actual travel.
    • They have pointed out that analysing travel choice when the individuals were not free to make any choices is problematic.
  • grounded studies of specific situations under the broad scope of social and cultural theory (Law, 1999) .
    • The relationship that exists between mobility and daily culture, including religion, is more complicated than reactive, as several studies (Guelke and Morin, 2007; Secor, 2002, 2004; Green, 1998; Kabeer, 1999) have suggested.
  • This study contributes to the literature on women’s mobility by focusing on;
    • The importance of religion in reducing the psychological frustration associated with limited mobility while simultaneously causing more limitations.
    • International migration as one kind of mobility (i.e., daily mobility) in the light of freedom and adaptive preference.
spatial capability
Spatial Capability
  • Suggests that what matters be the individual freedom for these women to choose one lifestyle or another as a result of their travelling, not how much or how they travel (i.e., spatial capability) (Alkire, 2002; Nussbaum, 2000).
  • An example of functioning (husband’s driving and international migration) not being transformed into capability (freedom or ability to manage one’s own mobility)
adaptive daily culture and christianity
Adaptive Daily Culture and Christianity
  • Women’s everyday culture is formed by structural limits, but in turn, it forms the limits itself (Sen, 1999; Dyck and Keans, 2006; Giddens, 1984).
  • Immigrants’ lives influence their religiosity, and at the same time, religion shapes their everyday culture.
    • For instance, Korean immigrants’ conservative Christianity influences their lives, but at the same time, their devoutness is developed in the first place to help them deal with the challenges they face in their immigrant lives.
adaptive preferences
Adaptive preferences
  • Enable them to access the potential to manage their own environments independently (Belle and Doucet, 2003; Lewis, 1966, 1968).
  • If this effort is hindered by the adaptive preference that helps women adjust to possible solutions (Elster 1983), then the danger is that it might increase the probability that they remain passive about their situation.
  • Moreover, such a tendency often persists from one generation to the next (Lewis, 1966, 1968).
case study
Case Study
  • group of 42 Korean immigrant women in the Los Angeles metropolitan area who are between 41 and 53 years of age and are involved in Christian religious practice.
    • Los Angeles: automobile dependence, a high concentration of Korean Christian immigrants
  • In-depth interviews: a non-random snowball sampling, semi-structured
    • Interview questions about these women’s immigration decision-making process, the places they go, their driving routine, and their daily travel schedules.
being isolated from the decision making

Spatial Capability in International Migration

Being Isolated from the Decision-Making
  • very short explanations as to why they immigrated and long justifications for why they ultimately became happy with the decision or how they managed to turn their migration into something that was personally helpful.
    • “Not bad,” or “I had no idea,” or “My husband had to come,” or “I took it for granted because all of my family did it together.” Lastly, but very commonly, “I think it was planned by God.”.
  • the development of adaptive preference based on their flexibility.
    • The breadwinners’ career opportunities and ambitions were prioritised over these women’s.
coping with the limited spatial capability

Spatial Capability in International Migration

Coping with the Limited Spatial Capability
  • Their Christianity helped them accept the consequences of migration not only passively but also actively and gratefully.
    • That’s what happened. Later, I learned that it was also His [God’s] plan. He invited me to the United States so that I could learn lessons… He has a certain idea [in mind for me]; that’s why something happened to me. We should appreciate what He gave us. Complaints are pointless.(Mi-Soon Park, The Author Interview, 11/03/03)
  • That religious interpretation empowers them by helping them positively understand what has happened in their lives.
  • However, in rationalising those situations through a reliance on religion, these women’s spatial capability has continued to be constrained.
constrained daily mobility
Constrained Daily Mobility
  • Since their migration, these women’s daily mobility has been constrained by a threefold combination:

1) their gender-based culture;

2) their economic status; and

3) the characteristics of transportation in Los Angeles.

gender based culture

Spatial Capability in Daily Mobility

Gender-based Culture
  • Their fathers’ control was replaced by their husbands’ authority after marriage, a situation which was justified as part of their domestic responsibility. One woman said,
    • For a long time, he hasn’t liked me going anywhere. It’s not that if I am late he yells at me or something. Instead, he just told my mother to scold me. He just can’t see me going somewhere. Then, that really means that I can’t go anywhere, doesn’t it? Even now [that I am too old to be told what to do], he still talks about it.(Hee-Sook Lee, The Author Interview, 01/13/04)
  • Gender-based ideology is related to a safety issue that causes immigrants to fear the society that exists “out there.”
their economic status

Spatial Capability in Daily Mobility

Their Economic Status
  • single-vehicle households
    • In the first few years following their migration to Los Angeles, their families could afford only one car, which the husband drove.
    • When their households could afford more than one car and these women were finally able to have their own automobiles, their lack of driving experience made them afraid to attempt to do so, especially on the freeway for the first time.
  • Monopolistic driving seems to be one of the few ways of maintaining the traditional family order.
    • Both the wife and the husband have developed resistance mechanisms to those role shifts in order to maintain “a normal family.”
the los angeles transportation system

Spatial Capability in Daily Mobility

the Los Angeles transportation system
  • quite dependent on driving, have been a critical factor in these women’s everyday spatial capability.
  • These women’s daily mobility has been limited to their neighbourhood, which usually encompasses home, work, and church.
  • Such constraints, are rooted and embedded in these women’s daily culture, and they seem to be voluntarily established by the interviewees.
adaptive culture appreciating protective husbands

Spatial Capability in Daily Mobility

Adaptive Culture: Appreciating Protective Husbands
  • the explanation that their husbands were so protective that they were willing to do all of the male-oriented jobs, such as driving and/or putting gas into the cars their wives drive only on local roads.
  • pleased and proud that they were protected by their husbands, who cared about them very much.
church activities as spatial strategy

Spatial Capability in Daily Mobility

Church Activities as Spatial Strategy
  • Many of these women said that aside from their family lives and their jobs—which are just a means of earning money—their churches have become almost the entire world to them.
  • Their church became part of their daily spatial mobility and the centre of their social activities.
    • Team members meet once a week for Bible reading, collaborative prayer, and information and life-concern sharing.
  • Because such church activity is legitimised by the various ways in which it caters to immigrants’ social needs and because the church is geographically close to these women’s residences, it easily became their boundary centre, one that is rather free of mobility constraints.
spatial strategy enlarging or limiting spatial capability

Spatial Capability in Daily Mobility

Spatial Strategy: Enlarging or Limiting Spatial Capability?
  • Through spatial strategies, some of the interview subjects—unlike those who rarely had a social life—created their own involvement in public activities, ones they believed were meaningful.
  • Church involvement is a spatial strategy that is certainly more active and empowering than choosing not to travel outside the home at all.
  • However, because it operates only within these women’s ethnic and religious boundaries, it enhances the limits on their spatial capability. By maintaining and being supported by their gender roles and gender ideology, it ultimately reinforces gendered mobility.
c onclusion
  • Spatial Capability: Mobility in terms of possibility and freedom as spatial capability
  • How agents adjust to their limited freedom of mobility depending on their religion
  • The habituation and reinforcement of constraints in everyday life
  • Adjustments in other cities?
  • Different religious groups and different groups of people?