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‘I think I'm more free with them' : conflict, negotiation and change in intergenerational relations in African families living in Britain

Cook, Joanne; Waite, Louise


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Professor Joe Cook
Professor in Organisational Behaviour/Human Resources Management

Louise Waite


While the family is increasingly being recognised as pivotal to migration, there remain too few studies examining how migration impacts on intergenerational relationships. Although traditional intergenerational gaps are intensified by migration, arguably there has been an over-emphasis on the divisions between ‘traditional’ parents and ‘modern’ children at the expense of examining the ways in which both generations adapt. As Foner and Dreby [2011. “Relations Between the Generations in Immigrant Families.” Annual Review of Sociology 37: 545–564] stress, the reality of post-migration intergenerational relations is inevitably more complex, requiring the examination of both conflict and cooperation. This article contributes to this growing literature by discussing British data from comparative projects on intergenerational relations in African families (in Britain, France and South Africa). It argues that particular understandings can be gained from examining the adaptation of parents and parenting strategies post-migration and how the reconfiguration of family relations can contribute to settlement. By focusing on how both parent and child generations engage in conflict and negotiation to redefine their relationships and expectations, it offers insight into how families navigate and integrate the values of two cultures. In doing so, it argues that the reconfiguration of gender roles as a result of migration offers families the space to renegotiate their relationships and make choices about what they transmit to the next generation.


Cook, J., & Waite, L. (2016). ‘I think I'm more free with them' : conflict, negotiation and change in intergenerational relations in African families living in Britain. Journal of ethnic and migration studies, 42(8), 1388-1402.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 14, 2015
Online Publication Date Sep 11, 2015
Publication Date Jun 20, 2016
Deposit Date Oct 23, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal Journal of ethnic and migration studies
Print ISSN 1369-183X
Electronic ISSN 1469-9451
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 42
Issue 8
Pages 1388-1402
Keywords African migration; Migrant families; Intergenerational relations; Gender and transmission
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of ethnic and migration studies on 11/09/2015, available online:


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