Marriage and birth over time and space among Cameroonian migrants to Germany

Annett Fleischer, Gesellschaft fuer Technische Zusammenarbeit

Immigration and integration policies in Germany increasingly force Cameroonians to develop strategies to find “open windows” and to constantly “adapt” to the changing conditions. Diminishing possibilities for legalizing their status are making Africans contingent on sustaining a three-year marriage to a German spouse or becoming the parent of a German citizen. I document the gender-specific pathways to legitimacy by Cameroonian men and women in Germany who must increasingly resort to marriage and birth with German citizen to obtain legal residence and to avoid exclusion. Not surprisingly, Cameroonians in Germany rarely orient their marital or reproductive lives to one another. German fathers of Cameroonian women’s children are rarely more than a fleeting presence, marriages between Cameroonian men and German women are notoriously fragile, and Cameroonian men look back to Africa for their “permanent” conjugal and retirement future.

Presented in Poster Session 1