technical paper

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Love, marriage, and assault: A Kinship Drama Among Malagasy Marriage Migrants in France



immigration and diasporas

kinship and families

Moving between different cultural contexts, transnational migrants render sharply visible a broader truth: that kinship is often changing and conflicted, and that cultural ideals and practices often don’t line up. When Malagasy women marry French men and migrate to France, they do so motivated by long-standing imperatives in which women gain their power and authority in the world by marrying away with their husbands, even as they also retain their ties to their natal families and ancestors.  They find themselves in a context where their legal status as migrant wives makes them dependent on, and vulnerable to, the men they marry, at least until they gain citizenship. At the same time,  state rhetoric claims to protect women and numerous subsidies exist to support single women, in particular. Drawing on fieldwork in France that began in 2010 and has continued intermittently into the present, this paper examines how Malagasy women who come as brides both appropriate and incorporate French bureaucratic norms around gender in their efforts both to gain resources and  establish themselves in France.  Focusing on a particular family drama in which a Malagasy woman’s French husband abused family members who she subsequently brought to live with them and who were nominally under her care, I show how these norms often become a weapon through which women renegotiate their relations with one another. 


Transcript English (automatic)

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