MPIDR Working Paper
Marriage over space and time among male migrants from Cameroon to Germany
MPIDR Working Paper WP-2008-006, 19 pages.
Rostock, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (February 2008)
presented to the conference on ‘Gender, Generations and the Family in International Migration’ at the European University Institute, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, San Domenico di Fiesole, 14th – 16th June 2007
Restrictive immigration and integration policies in Germany increasingly force African migrants to develop strategies and practices to acquire legal residence and obtain an essential work permit. Our account of Cameroonian men in Germany contributes to the discussion about the role of the nation state in transnational migration processes. Since national policies in the receiving country determine the right to settle and the risk of expulsion, the German nation state plays a decisive role for African migrants. The present paper emphasises the impact of national migration policies on Cameroonian men’s marriage strategies. Diminishing options for legalising their status in Germany by other means make Cameroonians increasingly dependent on sustaining a three-year marriage to a German wife. Mainly based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Cameroon and Germany, the present article explores the distribution of marriage over space and time as a means of securing the right to work and stay in Germany.
Keywords: Cameroon, Germany, international migration, marriage