Spouse selection and marriage processes in a transnational setting: results from a Longitudinal Qualitative Study

Can Aybek, German Federal Institute for Population Research
Ilknur Yuksel, Hacettepe University
Gaby Strassburger, Catholic University of Applied Social Sciences Berlin (KHSB)
Ismet Koc, Hacettepe University

Studies investigating the marriage patterns of immigrants in Germany point out that with regard to immigrants from Turkey the vast majority of the concluded marriages are intra-ethnic, and an important share of these marriages are apparently at the same time transnational. Quantitative as well as qualitative studies that have been conducted on this subject focus on the perceptions and preferences of the spouses residing in Germany. In order to understand the characteristics of the partnership formation and the marriage migration processes better, the perceptions of both spouses have to be taken into consideration. This aim is at the core of our study entitled “Marriage Migration from Turkey to Germany – A Qualitative Longitudinal and Dyadic Perspective”. We conducted in-depth interviews with spouses who were at the time of the first interview living in Turkey and respectively resided in Germany. The interviews were done with both females and males and included biographical narratives as well as instant narrations about ongoing experiences at different time points. As a consequence, we have first-hand reports of individuals who were engaged in a transnational partnership and reported about issues such as how their relation started, which factors affected the decision to conclude a marriage with a person living in another country, etc. This study tries to map out how the spouse selection and marriage processes are evolving in the case of transnational marriages. Obviously gender specific issues are of central importance to our analyses. The analysis of the interviews not only allowed us delineate characteristics that are specific to relationships on distance, but also contributed to a better understanding of spouse selection and partnership formation processes in a transnational context.

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Presented in Session 51: Intermarriage