PUBLI : Laura Odasso, « Negotiating Legitimacy : Binational Couples in the Face of Immigration Bureaucracy in Belgium and Italy », Anthropologica, vol. 63, n°1, 2021, p. 1–30.

Drawing from ethno­gra­phic research conducted with bina­tional hete­ro­sexual couples nego­tia­ting their legi­ti­macy in the face of immi­gra­tion bureau­cracy in Belgium and Italy, I explore the inter­play between marriage migra­tion govern­men­ta­lity and personal subjec­ti­vi­ties. In a context of increased poli­tical scru­tiny, I illus­trate how bina­tional couples wield their inti­macy to become and stay legal ; and how their expe­riences of the bureau­cratic encoun­ters impact on both part­ners’ agency, produ­cing swin­ging emotions and impro­ving their legal culture. In Belgium and Italy, marriage to a citizen remains a pathway towards secu­ring resi­dence for the migrant partner. Hence, in both coun­tries these forma­li­ties, that I frame as a network of borde­ring prac­tices, are increa­singly – but diffe­rently – policed defi­ning divergent marriage migra­tion regimes but similar shared migra­tory careers for the couples. The potency of the legal-bureau­cratic culture fashions the couples’ journey through immi­gra­tion law and its street-level imple­men­ta­tion. Never­the­less, beyond the oppor­tu­nity struc­tures and natio­nally anchored constraints, the analysis demons­trates that the part­ners’ agency simi­larly emerges from the migra­tion mana­ge­ment at large, their personal legal status and biogra­phical resources, and inter­ac­tions with inter­me­dia­ries at the margin of immi­gra­tion bureau­cracy. Such agency – trig­gered by inti­mate inten­tions and expec­ta­tions – is contin­gent and relational.

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