Call for Abstracts:

Risky Relationships: navigating immigration regulation in family and intimate relationships

University of Bristol & University of the West of England

27th & 28th March 2019, Bristol, UK. 

The Risky Relationships workshop invites participants to view the contemporary landscape of family migration and ‘intimate mobilities’ (Groes & Fernandez 2018) from the analytical perspective of risk. The optic of risk has appeared in various forms in the migration research literature, including work on internal migration as a household risk management strategy (Stark & Levhari 1982),  the physical risks of irregular migration (e.g. Sheridan 2009), and ethnic minority responses to immigration regulations (Charsley 2006), but has not been widely employed in the literature on international mobility. For couples and families divided by borders, or with mixed immigration status, immigration regulation creates risks of separation, and futures contingent on navigating a variety of economic, legal, practical and emotional risks. Increasing restrictions to family migration have both heightened the risks involved and expanded them to affect a wider variety of actors. Discourses of risk are also employed to justify tightening restrictions on family migration, and to distinguish some kinds of border-crossing relationship from others. This workshop aims to bring together scholars and activists to consider issues such as:

  • The emerging diversity of responses to the risks of negotiating relationships contingent on migration, and migration contingent on relationships.
  • How risks patterned along ethnic, racial, socio-economic, gendered or other lines may be reinforced or reconfigured.
  • What types of relationships are defined as particularly risky, in what ways, and by whom?
  • How are narratives of risk and protection employed in discourses around transnational relationships and their regulation?
  • What are the implications of changing approaches to family migration (including under Brexit) for these risks?
  • What is lost or gained by viewing contemporary family migration from the perspective of risk?

To stimulate discussion, the workshop will also feature a documentary screening, and the launch of the Visualising Love i-exhibition (for more details on the Visualising Love project:

Please submit the title and abstract (maximum 300 words) of your paper to by 20th November 2018. Please include your full name and institutional affiliation. I will confirm whether your paper has been accepted for the workshop by 30th November 2018.

Refreshments and lunch will be provided, but participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs (if cost is a barrier to attendance, please contact K Charsley at the email above).