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Marriage and transnational family life among Somali migrants in Finland

Mulki M Al-Sharmani, Abdirashid A Ismail


In this article, we investigate how marriage practices of Somali migrants in Finland are influenced by their transnational kinship. We examine how transnational family ties play a role in migrants’ spouse selection, marriage arrangements, and management of spousal resources. We also identify the factors that enable migrants to successfully navigate marital challenges caused by their transnational kin-based ties. These factors are: companionate marriage relationship based on emotional closeness and flexible spousal roles, compatibility in spousal resources, and the cooperation of couples in navigating transnational family obligations. We show how gender and generation are at play (in complex ways) in the interplay between transnational kinship and marriage. We draw on interview data from 16 married male and female interviewees, taken from a larger sample of 37 informants of different marital statuses. Our analysis is also based on data from focus group discussions


transnational kinship, marriage, Somali migrants, generation, Finland

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