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Publication - Professor Katharine Charsley

    Marrying ‘in’/marrying ‘out’?

    Blurred boundaries in British Pakistani marriage choices


    Charsley, K & Bolognani, M, 2019, ‘Marrying ‘in’/marrying ‘out’?: Blurred boundaries in British Pakistani marriage choices’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.


    The widespread practice of transnational marriage among British Pakistanis has often been understood through an ethnic lens, as emphasising the boundaries of ethnicity and reaffirming bonds of kinship to Pakistan. Within British Pakistani families, however, a diversity of marriages may exist, with some siblings married transnationally, whilst others have partners from within the UK. Marriage between cousins or more distant relatives is common, but unions between British Pakistanis are less often consanguineous than those involving a spouse from Pakistan. This paper draws on sibling pair case studies to explore the logics and consequences of contrasting marriage choices: those between kin but crossing international borders, and those within the nation-state but crossing the boundaries of the kin-group. In doing so, we suggest that both ‘types’ of marriage should be understood as part of wider dynamics of creative contextual brightening and dimming of a variety of boundaries of similarity and difference. Negotiations of marriageability may include ethnic, kin and national boundaries, but very often go beyond them. Destabilising these dominant discourses, moreover, also brings into question assumed correlations between cross-border marriage and broader transnational orientation.

    Full details in the University publications repository