Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance

A Comparative Approach to Family Migration

Interactions, Interchanges, and Flows

04June2015 15:00 - 17:00


Family migration has become one of the most salient and most controversially debated issues on European migration policy agendas today. In her public lecture, Eithne Luibhéid demonstrates how nation-state family migration policies shape the definition of 'family' and produce exclusions, but also inclusions at multiple scales.

The migrant family has become the focal point of a wide range of concerns and fears related to national identity, social cohesion, and cultural diversity.

This talk argues for the importance of not beginning with any specific definition of “family” but rather, critically tracking how nation-state immigration laws, policies, practices, and discourses produce changing configurations of what counts as family. It also suggests the necessity of exploring how flows, linkages, and interchanges among differently positioned nation states, grounded in histories of imperialism and capitalism, ensure that national-level family migration policies continually articulate hierarchies of empire, gender, race, class, and sexuality. It concludes that family migration policies must be understood as technologies of power and resistance, which produce not just exclusions but also differentiated inclusions at multiple scales, and affect not just migrants but also citizens and diasporas.

The speaker

Eithne Luibhéid is professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona. She is the author of Pregnant on Arrival: Making the ‘Illegal’ Immigrant (2013) and Entry Denied: Controlling Sexuality at the Border (2002). She has  edited a special issue of GLQ on “Queer/Migration” (2008) and co-edited A Global History of Sexuality (2014) and Queer Migration: Sexuality, U.S. Citizenship, and Border Crossings (2005). Her current book project, Queering Regularization, challenges the framing of undocumented migrants as problem subjects and instead, critically examines what it would take to encourage wide scale divestment from the unearned privileges associated with national citizenship status.


Attendance of this lecture is free and open to all. Please register no later than 29 May by sending an email to Helena Uzelac:


This lecture is part of an international two-day workshop on 'The Problematisation of Family Migration', which is a joint initiative of the Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance (ACELG), the UvA Department of Political Science, the Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES) and the Amsterdam Research Centre on Gender and Sexualities (ARC-GS).  For further information, please contact Saskia Bonjour ( or Betty de Hart ( 

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