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Cross-border marriages under conditions of transnationalization and politicization. A case study in Switzerland

English title Cross-border marriages under conditions of transnationalization and politicization. A case study in Switzerland
Applicant Dahinden Janine
Number 149924
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Maison d'analyse des processus sociaux MAPS Université de Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Ethnology
Start/End 01.03.2014 - 30.06.2018
Approved amount 561'924.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Ethnology
Sociology

Keywords (6)

Switzerland; social networks; Ethnicity; cross-border marriage; gender; transnationality

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Heiraten werden heute vermehrt im transnationalen Raum geschlossen, dies gilt insbesondere für MigrantInnen. Gleichzeitig werden solche transnationalen Heiraten in der Schweiz zunehmend politisiert und ethnisiert, vor allem dann, wenn sie MigrantInnen aus dem aussereuropäischen Raum betreffen (verdeutlicht etwa in Debatten über "Zwangsheiraten", Heirat als Migrationsstrategie angesichts restriktiver Einwanderungsregimes, etc.),. In diesem Spannungsfeld zielt das Forschungsprojekt darauf ab, die Praktiken, Strategien und Repräsentationen zu verstehen, die mit transnationalen Heiraten verbunden sind.
Lay summary

Das Forschungsprojekt untersucht transnationale Heiraten aus der Sicht von involvierten Personen, indem deren Praktiken, Strategien und Repräsentationen von Familie, Gender und Ethnizität - wie auch resultierende Konflikte - im Zentrum stehen. Wir argumentieren, dass diese in Interaktion mit den politischen, ökonomischen und diskursiven Rahmenbedingungen an beiden Enden der transnationalen Kette hervorgebracht werden. 

Die Forschungsfragen werden mittels drei theoretischen Ansätzen untersucht: a) eine transnationale Perspektive kann Aufschluss geben über die sozialen Netzwerke, Bedeutungen und Zugehörigkeiten der in diese Praktiken involvierten Akteure; b) Eine Grenzziehungsperspektive erlaubt es die Rolle von Familie und Ethnizität in diesen Prozessen zu verstehen wie auch zu untersuchen inwiefern kulturalistische und stigmatisierende Debatten im Immigrationskontext auf diese transnationalen Heiratspraktiken wie auch auf Vorstellungen von Familie und Ethnizität einwirken, c) eine Gender-Perspektive ermöglicht es zu untersuchen in welcher Art und Weise Geschlecht ein strukturierendes Prinzip in diesen Praktiken darstellt. 

Das Forschungsprojekt folgt einer qualitativen Methodologie: In die Studie einbezogen werden MigrantInnen der 2. Generation aus dem ehemaligen Jugoslawien, der Türkei, Sri Lanka oder Somalien, die sich mit einer Person gleicher ethnischer Herkunft verheiraten (oder verheiratet haben), die jedoch vor der Heirat in einem anderen Land lebte. Geplant sind in einem ersten Schritt narrative Interviews, falls möglich mit beiden Ehepartnern. In einem zweiten Schritt sind Fallstudien geplant, mittels eines multi-sited-Ansatzes. Es sollen die transnationalen 'Heiratsnetzwerke' erhoben werden und mit den wichtigsten Personen dieser Netzwerke werden problemzentrierte Interviews durchgeführt. 

Das Projekt erlaubt es Antworten auf politisierte Fragen zu finden, die über einfachste Erklärungen (wie Kultur oder Sexismus innerhalb von Migrantengruppen) hinausgehen. 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 28.01.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Mariages par-delà les frontières: une réalité transnationale complexe
Moret Joëlle (2017), Mariages par-delà les frontières: une réalité transnationale complexe, Federal Commission on Migration, Terra Cognita.
Pluralisme religieux et laïcité dans la perception des acteurs sociaux : travail de frontières et construction de sens
Moret Joëlle, Zittoun Tania (2017), Pluralisme religieux et laïcité dans la perception des acteurs sociaux : travail de frontières et construction de sens, in Revue économique et sociale, 75(2), 65-74.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Netzwerk Gender Studies CH Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Peggy Levitt United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Collaboration for international Workshop (I) Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Apostolos Andrikopoulos / University of Amsterdam Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Andreas Wimmer United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Collaboration for international workshop III Canada (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
IMISCOE Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel
Collaboration for international workshop II Denmark (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Max Planck institut for the study of religious and ethnic diversity Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
invited keynote speaker at the 10th Annual Seminar of the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS), Individual talk “The Making of National Societies: Borders, Boundaries and Migrant Inclusion and Exclusion in a Transnational Perspective 06.07.2018 Bielefeld, Germany Dahinden Janine;
IMISCOE International Conference Talk given at a conference Cross-border marriages’: an analytical category or a normative, state-oriented construct? 02.07.2018 Barcelona, Spain Dahinden Janine; Moret Joëlle;
Workshop: Ask the "Experts"? Positionalities of Researchers and Public Figures of Migrant Background in European Debates about Immigration”, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity Talk given at a conference Uneasy academics:Some attempts at crossing the line between the studied and the studying 27.06.2018 Göttingen, Germany Jashari Shpresa;
Opening Conference. Migration as a Global Challenge: Interdisciplinary Approaches to a Complex Field, Panel: Negotiations of Religious Plurality in the Context of Migration, organized by Alexander-Kenneth Nagel, 2 Talk given at a conference Re-contextualising cross-border marriages of descendants of migrants in exclusive stigmatising contexts: Position strategies, boundary processes and the role of Islam”, 22.06.2018 Göttingen, Germany Dahinden Janine;
Opening conference of the Ecole doctorale internationale francophone d’été BRULAU / CUSO Gender Studies Doctoral Programme “Les migrations ont-elles un sexe?” Talk given at a conference Se marier « là-bas » : mariages transnationaux, genre et statut social 11.06.2018 Lausanne, Switzerland Moret Joëlle;
Seminary of the Centre for Migration Research, Warsaw University Individual talk "The pitfalls of political and normative categorizations for migration research: Cross-border marriages of descendants of migrants as position strategies". 10.05.2018 Warsaw, Poland Dahinden Janine;
Globalization – Transnationalization – Society. An Interdisciplinary Dialogue between Theories of Society and Cross-Border Studies, Individual talk „Borders and Boundaries beyond Society? Exploring Migrant Inclusion and Exclusion in a Transnational Perspective“, 15.02.2018 Bielefeld, Germany Dahinden Janine;
Soziologisches Kolloquium, 24.1.2018, Universität Duisburg/Essen, Germany Individual talk “Zweite Generation MigrantInnen? Migrationshintergund? Kategorisierungen und ihre Herausforderungen für die Migrationsforschung“, 24.01.2018 Duisburg, Germany Dahinden Janine;
Colloque « Croiser le genre et la classe : objets, méthodes, perspectives » Talk given at a conference Par-delà les catégories ethniques : penser les mariages transnationaux comme stratégies genrées de positionnement social 09.11.2017 Université de Lausanne, Switzerland Moret Joëlle;
IMISCOE International Conference Talk given at a conference Transnational marriages in context: Marrying across borders as part of gendered strategies of social positioning 29.06.2017 Rotterdam, Netherlands Moret Joëlle;
IMISCOE International Conference Talk given at a conference Transnationality as reactive social positioning? Descendents of migrants and stigmatization in Switzerland 29.06.2017 Rotterdam, Netherlands Moret Joëlle;
Study day « AMORE outcomes and future challenges ». Talk given at a conference Transnational marriages in context: marrying across borders as part of gendered strategies of (transnational) social positioning?, 20.01.2017 Université Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium Moret Joëlle;
MA Students Conference « Familles, mobilités et migrations : approches critiques » Talk given at a conference Mariages transnationaux et perspectives de mobilités sociales: classe sociale, genre et ethnicité par-delà les frontières 09.12.2016 Université de Neuchâtel, Switzerland Moret Joëlle;
DFG Research Training Group «Transnational social support", University of Mainz & Hildesheim Individual talk The transnational perspective in migration studies: Potentials and challenges. 23.11.2016 Mainz, Germany Dahinden Janine;
CAS Gender, Justice, Globalisation: Negotating Gender and Cultural Difference in Contemporary Societies, University of Berne, Individual talk Cultural rights or women’s rights? A way out –by changing the theoretical perspective. 17.11.2016 Bern, Switzerland Dahinden Janine;
8th Congress of the InASEA, New Bulgarian University Talk given at a conference Re-contextualising cross-border marriages of 2nd generation (non EU) migrants in exclusive stigmatising contexts. 16.09.2016 Sofia, Bulgaria Dahinden Janine;
Conference ‘Troubling Times for Europe?, Families, Migration and Politics’ Talk given at a conference Migrants’ descendants marrying across borders: social class, gender, and ethnicity in transnational social fields 04.06.2016 Krakow, Poland Moret Joëlle;
Dahinden, Janine: Workshop The Problematisation of Family Migration (discussant). University of Amsterdam. Netherlands, Individual talk Discussant 04.07.2015 Amsterdam, Netherlands Dahinden Janine;
IMISCOE International Conference Talk given at a conference Re-contextualising cross-border marriages at the crossroads between transnational subjectivities and stigmatising processes 27.06.2015 Genève, Switzerland Dahinden Janine; Jashari Shpresa; Moret Joëlle;
International Workshop « Familles transnationales migrantes ou expatriées: mêmes ressources, mêmes vulnérabilités? Talk given at a conference Mariages transnationaux en Suisse: Entre transnationalisation et politisation 19.06.2015 Université de Lausanne, Switzerland Moret Joëlle;
6th Nordic Geographers Meeting Talk given at a conference Representations of Gendered Spaces and Selfpositionings in Biographical Narratives of Cross‐Border Spouses 15.06.2015 Tallinn and Tartu, Estonia Jashari Shpresa;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Workshop « Cross-border marriages: Intersecting boundaries in transnational social spaces » 09.02.2017 Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Workshop "Cross-border marriages: between transnationalization and politicization", IMISCOE International Conference 27.06.2015 Genève, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Praxistag des Bundes zu Zwangsehen und -heiraten in der Schweiz, Staatssekretariat für Migration, Bern Workshop 20.01.2016 Bern, Switzerland Jashari Shpresa;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media "Vorintegrativer Sprachnachweis" für nachziehende Ehegatten. Grenzkontrolle im Prüfungsraum Terra Cognita German-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2018
Media relations: print media, online media Marriages Transnationaux: au-delà des Clichés Uninenews (Neuchâtel) Western Switzerland 2018
Media relations: print media, online media Durch den Monat mit...: Shpresa Jashari über «Importbräutigame», Begriffshülsen und die Gefahr, Mens German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Talks/events/exhibitions Love across borders’ ‐ interdisciplinary talks and discussion, Kunstmuseum Luzern German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Transnationale Ehen, zwischen Normalitat und Tabu Albinfo.ch German-speaking Switzerland 2014

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
135907 Transnationalization of Religion 01.06.2011 International Exploratory Workshops
115756 Religion und Ethnizität: Welche Praktiken, Identitäten und Grenzziehungen? Eine Untersuchung mit jungen Erwachsenen. 01.06.2007 NRP 58 Religions, the State and Society
119463 Mobilité et genre: représentations, pratiques et transformation des rapports de genre 01.10.2008 ProDoc
124983 Bridging Places Across Borders: Constitution, Maintenance and Meaning of Transnational Social Spaces 01.10.2009 Project funding
107844 Soziale Netzwerke von MigrantInnen und die Konstruktion von Zugehörigkeit 01.05.2005 Project funding (special)
107237 Prishtina-Schlieren. Albanische Migrationsnetzwerke im transnationalen Raum 01.09.2004 Publication grants

Abstract

Marriage is one of those practices that increasingly occur in transnational spaces. For the past few years, there has been a growing interest among social scientists to analyze the motivations, practices and constraints inherent in this form of transnationalization. At the same time, cross-border marriage has become an important topic in immigration countries, particularly when it involves migrants from non-European countries. Overall, a politicization and ethnicization can be observed that trigger debates about “forced marriages,” violence against migrant women, sham marriages or cross-border marriages as entry tickets for immigration. On the ground of such opposing forces - the increased transnationalization of migration practices versus the politicization of these practices - we aim to understand cross-border marriages from the viewpoint of the persons involved by investigating the practices, strategies and representations of family, gender and ethnicity, and the resulting conflicts. These are, as we consider, closely articulated with the political, economic and discursive frames at both ends of the transnational chain. We argue that the issue can best be understood by approaching it through three lenses: a) a transnational approach to cross-border marriage practices can give insights into the networks, meanings and questions of belongings of the actors involved in these practices. Such an approach allows also to understand how local contexts and socio-political and discursive frames (“locality”) at both ends of the transnational chain shape the practices of cross-border marriage; b) a boundary work perspective can explain the roles of family and ethnicity when it comes to cross-border marriages and bring to light the production of different forms of “groupness” as well as representations of a “good marriage,” an “ideal spouse,” etc. This perspective also allows an investigation into how ideas about ethnicity and family impact cross-border marriages relationally and in interaction with ethnicizing, culturalizing, and stigmatizing debates in immigration contexts; c) a gender perspective makes it possible to investigate how gender affects all dimensions that are relevant for cross-border marriages. Thus, three main sub-questions will guide our research: 1. What role do transnational networks and subjectivities play in cross-border-marriages? 2. What forms of “groupness” (family, ethnic, religious, others) are produced in cross-border marriage, how can the boundary work of the actors be understood, and how is that boundary work related to local contexts? 3. In what ways are the contexts and the processes that result in cross-border marriage gendered, and how are gender inequalities (re)produced, legitimated and put into practice or, on the contrary, attenuated? These questions will be approached by a qualitative-interpretative methodology. We will do research with couples from non-European countries who marry or have married across borders, meaning that one member of the couple has been living in Switzerland before marriage and is a second-generation migrant and the other one lives or was living in another country. In the first step, we will conduct 20 to 25 narrative interviews with second-generation migrants engaged or about to engage in a cross-border marriage; and, if they are present, we will also interview their spouses. In the second step, we will select around 10 case studies that will be investigated in depth, using a multi-sited approach. For this step, we will grasp the transnational “marriage network” of the couple, and subsequently conduct interviews with the most important persons from this network. The significance of the proposed research lies in its opportunity to gain answers to highly politicized questions - answers that go beyond simplistic explanations (of culture or of sexism within migrant communities) and that bring to light the complex processes of this form of transnationalization as well as its constraining and conflictual dimensions.
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