Skip to content

Marrying ‘in’/marrying ‘out’? Blurred boundaries in British Pakistani marriage choices

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
DateAccepted/In press - 27 May 2019
DatePublished (current) - 17 Jul 2019


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-text PDF (accepted author manuscript)

    Rights statement: This is the author accepted manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) is available online via Taylor & Francis at . Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Accepted author manuscript, 90.5 KB, Word document

    Embargo ends: 17/01/21

    Request copy


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups