Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Martha Kuwee Kumsa

Advisor Role

Dissertation Advisor

Second Advisor

Shoshana Pollack

Advisor Role

Dissertation Co-Advisor


This dissertation is the story of Tajik migrant workers who have lived and worked in Russia. It examines how gender relations of power change in the context of labour migration through the lived experiences of the migrants. The study asks the overarching research question: How do gender relations change in the context of Tajik labour migration to Russia? Following the social constructionist epistemology, gender is framed through the lens of post-structural, intersectional, and transnational feminist theories. The study employs a conceptual framework that integrates the following into a coherent whole: feminist theories of gender relations, the general context of international migration, and the unique context of Tajik labour migration.

The qualitative methodology of narrative inquiry is employed to generate rich, qualitative stories. Twenty-one participating Tajik migrant workers (10 females and 11 males) were interviewed in Russia and in Tajikistan. The stories were analyzed by utilizing two types of analysis within narrative inquiry: analysis of narratives and narrative analysis. Both types of analysis provide critical examination of how gender relations change in the everydayness of participants’ lived experiences.

Findings highlight a constant tension between the changes and continuities of patriarchal structures in which gender relations are continued and reproduced at the same time as they are transformed, thus creating new forms of gender power relations. This study disputes that labour migration is driven only by economic factors. Without denying the impact of economic factors, the study presents other push and pull factors that place gender relations at the centre of labour migration. Implications for social work practice, theory, and research are discussed.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season