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Passage to Hope: Marriage, Migration, and the Need for a Cosmopolitan Turn in Family Research


Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Institute of Sociology, Munich, Germany (


When family research remains fixed to the container model of the nation-state, it becomes increasingly unable to understand and explain the situation of families in today's interconnected world. This is true in a twofold sense. On the one hand, the relationships and lifestyles of a significant segment of the population are excluded from view and purview. On the other hand, when universalism builds its concepts from the vantage point of the majority society and implicitly claims their universal validity, this kind of approach inevitably succumbs to misinterpretations and distortions. To demonstrate this, we take marriage migration as a case in point, outlining first its social context and then the way academic and public discourse treat this subject. By pointing out common blind spots and biased perceptions in this debate, we try to give evidence to our critique and lay the ground for a different approach: a “cosmopolitan turn” in research on the family.