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Workshop and a Special Collection on “Family Migration Processes in a Comparative Perspective: Causes, Patterns, Effects”

Oct 25

According to official statistics, family migration has been the major mode of migration to the OECD area in recent years, making up close to 40% of the permanent migration inflow in total.1 Family migrants represent also a significant part of the cross-border movements within the EU and make up, as data from the European Labour Force Survey suggest, nearly a third (ca. 400,000 individuals) of the intra-European mobility of EU-citizens in 2015.

On a societal level, family migration represents a highly contested field of political regulation. Various actors compete with each other about the objectives and priorities to be set in this realm.

On the micro level, the available figures highlight the very diverse socio-economic characteristics of family migrants, not only in terms of age, gender or educational background, but also with respect to their legal status depending on the context and the mode of immigration in the respective country of destination. These findings show also that quantities and characteristics of family migrants in a specific context are connected to immigration policies in other areas, such as the conditions for labour migration.2 Provisions formulated for family formation or family reunification, such as waiting periods or income requirements, often relate to conditions set forth for other channels of immigration. For instance, legislative bodies might react to societal trends, such as increases in the number of transnational marriages. The requirements to be fulfilled by family migrants and their sponsors may be more generous for certain groups than for others, depending on how strong the interest is to attract specific groups, such as highly skilled migrants.3

Family migration – be it for the purpose of family formation, of accompanying other family members or family reunification – clearly also affects personal relationships and poses some impacts on dynamics within a couple, a family or a community as a whole. It could have positive effects, such as generating extra income and enhance social mobility, but it may have (also) negative consequences, such as creating separation stress or leading to dissatisfaction between partners or family members and a weakening of social ties. For a majority of adult family migrants, a crucial question remains of how and how fast a desired integration into the host society and its institutions, such as the labour market, will occur. In terms of intergenerational relations, immigrant parents may be faced with the question of how to the transfer their human, social or cultural capital onto their children in a new setting.

The aim of this workshop and special collection is to bring together international migration scholars from sociology and demography as well as neighbouring research disciplines who work on various types of family migration processes and their effects on intimate relationships, marriages, and families as described above. The workshop aims to generate new insights by comparing theoretical and empirical approaches and new research strategies. Invited are papers based on quantitative or qualitative analyses or theoretical approaches.


The expected contributions could cover the following research themes within the context of international family migration:

  1. patterns of partnership formation, marriage, or family reunification on a spatially and/or temporally comparative level
  2.  family migration and its relation to living arrangements or relationship quality
  3. linked lives and socio-economic and health inequalities in specific settings of family migration
  4. interrelations between patterns of migration and family related transitions in the life course
  5. consequences of family migration processes and spatial disruptions on sibling and intergenerational relations.


~ Deadline for applications: 2 April 2018 ~

Interested researchers are invited to submit an abstract (max. 250 words) including a title, full address and current affiliation of the author(s). The work discussed in this paper should be suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal as a special collection, hence the results should not have been already published elsewhere. 

Please send the abstract to the organizers per eMail.

The notification about the selection is foreseen for May 28 the latest. The authors of the selected paper proposals will be asked to submit four weeks before the workshop a full draft of their paper to be presented. Within four weeks after the workshop decisions on the selection of the papers for the peer-reviewing process for the special collection will be made.

*Invited* paper proposals are planned to be published as part of a Special Issue of the Journal for Family Research4 (scheduled for 2019 or early 2020).


Please submit your proposals to the organizers:

Can M. Aybek (Bremen City University of Applied Sciences)   

Email: can.aybek [at] ">can.aybek [at]   

Nadja Milewski (University of Rostock)

Email: nadja.milewski [at]

Event information