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The transnational work of kinship and caring: Bengali–British marriages in historical perspective

Gardner, Katy (2006) The transnational work of kinship and caring: Bengali–British marriages in historical perspective. Global Networks, 6 (4). pp. 373-387. ISSN 1470-2266

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1471-0374.2006.00150.x


In this article, based on ongoing research carried out in Bangladesh since the mid-1980s and field-work in London in the late 1990s, I take a historical approach to the analysis of transnational Sylheti marriages. By showing how the form of these marriages has changed since the mid-twentieth century, I argue that transnational migration is itself highly fluid. The role of wives in maintaining transnational links is central to the account. I focus in particular on the wives of ‘first-generation’ migrant men who came to Britain in the 1950s and 1960s, and whose families were generally reunited in Britain by the 1980s. By describing the household and caring work of these wives both in Sylhet and London, I demonstrate that rather than being ‘dependants’ of their migrant husbands, women have been central to the success of migrant households. The rewards of transnational connectedness have, however, come at a cost — long-term separation from loved ones. Isolation and loneliness have been hallmarks of the experiences of these earlier generations of women.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2006 Blackwell Publishing Ltd & Global Networks Partnership
Divisions: Anthropology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2013 08:47
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 00:32

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