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Societies 2012, 2(3), 63-74;

Family Migration: Fulfilling the Gap between Law and Social Processes

Department of Sociology, Università Cattolica di Milano, Largo A. Gemelli, 1-20123 Milan, Italy
Received: 21 June 2012 / Revised: 2 July 2012 / Accepted: 3 July 2012 / Published: 5 July 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue On the Move: Human Migration Past, Present and Future)
Full-Text   |   PDF [292 KB, uploaded 5 July 2012]


In the last twenty-five years, the family entity has been imposed as a crucial actor in understanding migratory strategies and behaviors, the study of the integration into the host society, the analysis of the impact of migrations for the sending and receiving countries and, last but not least, the evaluation of migratory policies and practices. This article recalls the main theoretical prospects that put specific emphasis on family; identifies some “ideological traps” that frequently influence family immigration policies and practices; then develops some considerations about the advantages and disadvantages of family migration for both the sending and the receiving countries; finally, it devotes a specific analysis to the family reunification issue, describing how this right is ruled by the EU legislation. In the conclusion, the Author observes that, notwithstanding the fact that family constitutes a crucial actor in the process of human mobility, both the legislation and the receiving societies’ expectations concerning migration continues to be founded on an individualistic conception. Among other consequences of this asymmetry, there is the fact that family reunion is not always the best solution if the well-being of all family members and the life chances of migrants’ offspring are taken into account. View Full-Text
Keywords: migration studies; migrant families; migration policies; family reunification migration studies; migrant families; migration policies; family reunification
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Zanfrini, L. Family Migration: Fulfilling the Gap between Law and Social Processes. Societies 2012, 2, 63-74.

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