Reconceptualizing family reunification from a youth mobilities perspective: transnational youth between Ghana and Belgium

Sarah Anschütz*, Valentina Mazzucato

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Web of Science)


Family reunification is the main reason youth independently migrate from the Global South to the Global North. Research on family reunification adheres to policy definitions of the phenomenon that portray reunification as something that happens within the destination country and within the nuclear family. Yet by following youth mobility trajectories, we show that young people experience many types of family reunification. This paper draws on 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork in Belgium and Ghana with young people of Ghanaian background. We find that for young people, family includes multiple caregivers who are not necessarily nuclear family members, family reunification can at the same time entail family separation, and multiple family reunifications may occur in both the origin and the destination country. Many of these reunifications and separations are significant for youth yet they remain unseen when employing a policy definition of family reunification.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-173
Number of pages14
JournalChildrens Geographies
Issue number2
Early online date28 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2022


  • Belgium
  • Ghana
  • Youth mobility trajectories
  • family reunification
  • transnational families
  • youth migration
  • CARE
  • Belgium&#8204

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