Family Relations: Extended Family Living, Gender and ‘Traditionalism’

Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life book series (PSFL)


Culturalist understandings connect transnational marriage with ‘traditional’ gender and family relationships, contrasted with models of ‘modern’ egalitarian European gender relations which are taken as a sign of cultural integration. Previous chapters of this volume have considered gender issues in relation to education, employment and social life. In this chapter, we explore another prominent topic in this area: extended family living. The Labour Force Survey data reveals that rates living in extended families are patterned by couple type, with particularly high rates among migrant wife couples. For both transnational and intranational couples, women sometimes find living with their in-laws constraining. For some British Pakistani women, a transnational marriage offers the opportunity to avoid the role of daughter-in-law, and so may offer increased autonomy and/or the opportunity to remain living with or near their natal family. Migrant husbands, conversely, are often in the culturally unusual position of being dependent on their wife and her family for accommodation. The qualitative data also, however, points to ways in which extended family living can function to enhance processes of integration, providing practical, emotional and financial support enabling couples to invest in their careers or business, or to save for their own property.


  1. Aybek, C. M., Straßburger, G., & Yüksel-Kaptanoğlu, İ. (2015). Marriage migration from Turkey to Germany: Risks and coping strategies of transnational couples. In Spatial mobility, migration, and living arrangements (pp. 23–42). Cham: Springer.Google Scholar
  2. Bhachu, P. (1988). Apni Marzi Kardi: home and work: Sikh migrant women in Britain. In S. Westwood & P. Bhachu (Eds.), Enterprising women (pp. 76–102). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Casey, L. (2016). The Casey review: A review into opportunity and integration. London: Department for Communities and Local Government.Google Scholar
  4. Casier, M., Heyse, P., Clycq, N., Zemni, S., & Timmerman, C. (2013). Breaking the in-group out-group: Shifting boundaries in transnational partner choice processes of individuals of Moroccan, Tunisian, Algerian, Turkish, Punjabi Sikh, Pakistani and Albanian descent in Belgium. The Sociological Review, 61(3), 460–478.Google Scholar
  5. Charsley, K. (2005a). Vulnerable brides and transnational Ghar Damads: Gender, risk and ‘adjustment’ among Pakistani marriage migrants to Britain. Indian Journal of Gender Studies, 12(2–3), 381–406.Google Scholar
  6. Charsley, K. (2005b). Unhappy husbands: Masculinity and migration in transnational Pakistani marriages. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 11(1), 85–105.Google Scholar
  7. Charsley, K. (2013). Transnational Pakistani connections: Marrying ‘back home’. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Charsley, K., & Bolognani, M. (2019). Marrying ‘in’/marrying ‘out’? Blurred boundaries in British Pakistani marriage choices. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 1–18.
  9. Charsley, K., & Ersanilli, E. (2019). The ‘Mangetar Trap’? Work, family and Pakistani migrant husbands. NORMA, 14(2), 128–145.Google Scholar
  10. Charsley, K., & Liversage, A. (2015). Silenced husbands: Muslim marriage migration and masculinity. Men and Masculinities, 18(4), 489–508.Google Scholar
  11. Chaudhuri, S., Morash, M., & Yingling, J. (2014). Marriage migration, patriarchal bargains, and wife abuse: A study of South Asian women. Violence Against Women, 20(2), 141–161.Google Scholar
  12. Eggebø, H., & Brekke, J. P. (2018). Family migration and integration: A literature review. Nordland Research Institute. Accessed 5 July 2019.
  13. Fokkema, T., & De Haas, H. (2015). Pre‐ and post‐migration determinants of socio‐cultural integration of African immigrants in Italy and Spain. International Migration, 53(6), 3–26.Google Scholar
  14. Gedalof, I. (2007). Unhomely homes: Women, family and belonging in UK discourses of migration and asylum. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33(1), 77–94.Google Scholar
  15. Glick, J. E., Bean, F. D., & Van Hook, J. V. (1997, February). Immigration and changing patterns of extended family household structure in the United States: 1970–1990. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 59, 177–191.Google Scholar
  16. Gonzales-Ferrer, A. (2006). Who do immigrants marry? Partner choice among single immigrants in Germany. European Sociological Review, 22(2), 171–185.Google Scholar
  17. Grillo, R. (2008). The family in dispute: Insiders and Outsiders. In R. Grillo (Ed.), The family in question: Immigrant and ethnic minorities in multicultural Europe. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Grover, S. (2011). Marriage, love, caste and kinship support: Lived experiences of the urban poor in India. New Delhi: Social Science Press.Google Scholar
  19. Jamieson, L. (1999). Intimacy transformed? A critical look at the ‘pure relationship’. Sociology, 33(3), 477–494.Google Scholar
  20. Kandiyoti, D. (1988). Bargaining with patriarchy. Gender and Society, 2(3), 274–290.Google Scholar
  21. Lievens, J. (1999). Family-forming migration from Turkey and Morocco to Belgium: The demand for marriage partners from the countries of origin. International Migration Review, 33(3), 717–744.Google Scholar
  22. Liversage, A. (2012). Transnational families breaking up: Divorce among Turkish immigrants in Denmark. In K. Charsley (Ed.), Transnational marriage: New perspectives from Europe and beyond. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Liversage, A. (2019). Generational (dis)agreements—Family support, national law and older immigrants in extended households. Ageing & Society, 39(5), 899–923.Google Scholar
  24. Liversage, A., & Jakobsen, V. (2010). Sharing space—Gendered patterns of extended household living among young Turkish marriage migrants in Denmark. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 41(5), 693–715.Google Scholar
  25. Malik, A. (2016). Sofia Khan is not obliged. London: Twenty7.Google Scholar
  26. Pilkauskas, N. V., & Martinson, M. L. (2014). Three-generation family households in early childhood: Comparisons between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Demographic Research, 30(60), 1639–1652.Google Scholar
  27. Schinkel, W. (2011). The nationalization of desire: Transnational marriage in Dutch culturist integration discourse. Focaal—Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology, 2011(59), 99–106.Google Scholar
  28. Shaw, A. (2000). Conflicting models of risk: Clinical genetics and British Pakistanis. In P. Caplan (Ed.), Risk revisited (pp. 85–107). London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  29. Van Hook, J., & Glick, J. E. (2007). Immigration and living arrangements: Moving beyond economic need versus acculturation. Demography, 44(2), 225–249.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Sociology, Politics and International StudiesUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.BristolUK
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Centre on Migration, Policy and SocietyUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations