Reversal of the Gender Order? Male Marriage Migration to Germany By North - African and Turkish Men: New Forms of Gendered Transnationalization of Migrant Generations in Europe

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 12:30 PM
Room: 503
Oral Presentation
Ursula APITZSCH , University of Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Marriage migration is today the main possibility of legal migration from outside the EU to EU countries.   Studies of marriage migration published in recent years have focussed on women as migrating subjects. Although these studies also notice that men as well as women are migrating, there is no study focussing exclusively on migrating men in the context of marriage. My paper –in contrast- presents the results of an investigation regarding the phenomenon of transnational marriage of male Muslim migrants.

My hypothesis is that this marriage migration does not necessarily have a traditional background. On the contrary: women of the second or third generation of well integrated migrant families within Western EU countries are hoping for a realistic chance of establishing a family and bringing up children by marrying a partner from the country of origin of their parents or grandparents, while they continue to work and  remain the breadwinners in the country of immigration and thus strengthen their autonomy (while their husbands wait for work permits and/or job opportunities and meanwhile have to take over care obligations within the family). In general, I want to show that male marriage migration can be seen both as cause and effect of changing gender orders

By means of the biographical analysis of narrative interviews with male marriage migrants from North Africa and Turkey and their spouses, the related ongoing research project at Frankfurt University (2011-2014) is dealing with the debates about problems of language and integration into the labour market, gender relations and dynamics within the migrant family, (un)changing conceptions and visions of manhood in migration processes and the contestation/negotiation of migrant masculinities.