Risk, Trust, Gender and Transnational Cousin Marriage Among British Pakistanis Katharine Charsley

Introduction

The substantial numbers of incoming spousal migrants from Pakistan is a notable feature of contemporary British immigration. This article argues for the utility of viewing such marriages, which are commonly between cousins, not only in terms of migration strategies or kinship obligations, but as part of the negotiation of the risks of marriage in a transnational context. Focusing on matches between British women and men from Pakistan, it explores conceptualizations of marriage and risk, relatedness and place, and closeness and distance, to explain the appeal of transnational close kin marriage. But while these arrangements hope to reduce some risks, they also produce others, generated both by the incentives of migration, and by internal logics of marriages between relatives. Marital choices among British Pakistanis, and resulting migration, can thus be seen as a consequence of a culturally-grounded dialogue on risk and how best it can be managed.

Charsley, K. (2007) ‘Risk, Trust, Gender and Transnational Cousin Marriage Among British Pakistanis’, Ethnic and Racial Studies, 30(6): 1117-1131