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Migration Infrastructure and Brokerage in Victorian Female Emigration Societies

In: Journal of Migration History
Author:
Marie Ruiz Université de Paris, Laboratoire de Recherche sur les Cultures Anglophones / CNRS, Paris, France, mariejruiz@yahoo.fr

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Abstract

In the nineteenth century, female mobility was eased by a variety of intermediary structures, which interacted to direct the migration of British women to the Empire. Among these migration infrastructures were female emigration societies such as the Female Middle Class Emigration Society (1861–1886). This organisation was the first to assist gentlewomen in emigrating. It adopted a holistic approach to British female emigration by promoting women’s departure, selecting candidates, arranging their protection on the voyage, as well as their reception in the colonies. Grounded in a multifactorial perspective, this article offers an insight into how female migration brokerage came into being in the Victorian context. It intersects migration with gender and labour perspectives in a trans-sectorial approach of the history of female migration infrastructures in the British Empire, and reveals the diversity of transnational migration intermediaries interacting at meso level between female emigrants, non-state actors, and state institutions.

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