This article explores Afghan return migrants’ strategies and constraints to identify with the different spaces of belonging they encountered, through their expressions and practices of marriage. We take an in-depth approach to the life histories of 35 voluntary and involuntary Afghan returnees from European countries. We find that in narrating and performing different marriage practices, some Afghan return migrants construct fixed boundaries between different spaces of belonging, while others try to construct these boundaries as permeable and hybrid. Gender and mobility strongly define the way in which return migrants narrate and perform marriage as a cultural practice that determines who belongs, who wants to belong and who is able to belong. We conclude that while openly negotiating hybrid practices within a delicate theme such as marriage requires careful negotiation of boundaries, mobility can improve the extent to which return migrants can apply inventive and hybrid identifications for their personal needs and desires.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Return migration, transnational marriage, politics of belonging, masculinity, identity, Afghanistan
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1080/1070289X.2017.1287489, hdl.handle.net/1765/114088
Journal Identities. Global Studies in Culture and Power
Citation
van Houte, M., & Davids, T. (2017). Narrating Marriage: Negotiating Practices and Politics of Belonging of Afghan Return Migrants. Identities. Global Studies in Culture and Power. doi:10.1080/1070289X.2017.1287489