Risk and Ritual: The Protection of British Pakistani Women in Transnational Marriage Katharine Charsley

Introduction

With increasing numbers of Pakistani nationals entering Britain as the spouses of British Pakistanis, concern has been voiced over the risks faced by British Pakistani women entering into such marriages. This article takes the issue of risk as a central explanatory factor in examining the effects of transnationalism on Pakistani marriage ceremonies. The involvement of marriages in multiple legal systems, together with the individual circumstances of geographically divided kingroups, may lead to additions or adaptations to wedding practices. The focus on risk, however, illuminates a novel strategy employed by some British Pakistani families to reduce the risks to young women marrying Pakistani nationals: the delaying of the couple’s cohabitation until after the husband’s successful migration. The challenge for state intervention in the regulation of risks to its citizens through immigration policy is to keep pace with these changing phenomena.

Charsley, K. (2006) ‘Risk and Ritual: The Protection of British Pakistani Women in Transnational Marriage’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 32(7): 1169-1187