|Civic Stratification, Gender and Family Migration Policies in Europe|
|NODE Project Team (coordinators: Veronika Bilger, Albert Kraler)
Love, intimate relationships and marriage are not only important motivations for migration, but – in the form of family migration provisions in admission policies of countries of immigration – they also from important grounds on which migrants are admitted to countries of immigration.
Indeed, family related migration has become one of the main sources of migration and legal modes of entry in Europe during the past two or three decades. However, the categories applied by immigration legislation hardly accommodate the empirical diversity of family forms and intimate relationship and narrowly distinguish between “legitimate” forms of relationship (and/or family), on the basis of which migrants may seek admission from illegitimate ones, which are not eligible for family reunification.
Yet also migrants admitted to European countries under family related provisions are subject to various restrictions and conditionalities that vary greatly between different categories of migrants. By allocating different statuses and different rights to different categories of family migrants, family migration policies thus create “civic stratification” (Morris 2002) in ways that are highly gendered. They do so along various axes and through different mechanisms: restrictive conditionalities tied to the granting of family-related permits; through narrow and conservative legal concepts of the family that fail to accommodate “non-conventional” family forms; differential entitlements and obligations for different modes of family migration (reunification, formation, marriage) and for different categories of migrants (long-term vs. short term migrants; family members of nationals, EU-nationals, and third country nationals).Many of the provisions of this form of migration have been based on assumptions of dependency and traditional concepts of gender roles (Bhabha and Shutter 1994). Even if formulated in gender neutral terms, in practice these regulations often operate in gendered ways (Freeman 2003).
In our presentation we will analyse how countries of immigration accomodate “love” as a motivation for migration in immigration legislation, in other words, how immigration policies engage in the construction of “legitimate intimacy”. We will investigate how these legal constructions influence and shape intimate relationships, family relations, gender identities etc. and to what extent apparently affective factors (love, marriage) are determined by contextual factors (political opportunity structures). Finally, we will hypothesize which effects family migration policies have on relationships, gender roles, and family strategies etc. of migrants.