Post. doc. project: <strong>MiMa: Migration and Marriage: </strong><strong>Research on Transnational Marriages</strong><strong/>

  • Elg, Camilla, (Project Participant)
  • Schmidt, Garbi (Project Participant)
  • Rytter, Mikkel (Project Participant)
  • Jakobsen, Vibeke (Project Participant)

    Project Details



    Commencing in 2005, the MiMa research project is led by Garbi Schmidt and includes researchers Mikkel Rytter, Vibeke Jacobsen and Camilla Elg. The following is an introduction to the themes of the project. MiMa is an interdisciplinary project focussing on transnational marriages somehow related to Denmark.


    A basic assumption for the MiMa project is that marriage changes as a result of migration. Marriage forms an important relation in families and families are central for the raising of children, for the organisation of personal, intimate and network relations and they act as a basis for connection to the work market, amongst other things. Thus, changes related to marriage are likely to affect the local and national contexts involved. As an institutionalised relation between man and woman, marriage also touches upon the relations of power between men and women in society. In other words, practises related to marriage have implications in a vast range of social arenas - from the individual position in family relations to the national and international level.


    It is MiMa's ambition to include these different arenas in the research. This is achieved by integrating four sub-projects. One arena for our research is the legislative. We examine the aims and effects of the laws dealing with migration into Denmark. The Danish state has laws that deal specifically with transnational marriages by setting up a number of criteria that have to be met in order for a Danish citizen to settle in Denmark with a non-Scandinavian or non-EU spouse. These laws have had the effect of slowing down migration and thereby fulfil government goals of border protection but nevertheless these laws also aim at altering the practices and traditions of immigrant families. One clear effect is the increase in the number of Danish citizens settling in southern Sweden with their a non-Scandinavian non-EU spouses. But other, more subtle effects can also be detected including changes in intergenerational relations, and a focus on matters of ‘own choice' in the accounts of transnational marriages.


    For many of the people we have interviewed it seems that the family is a social arena that transgresses the national in different ways. The legal restrictions enforced by the state are not decisive for marriage practice, and norms and values related to private and family life are not necessarily experienced within a national framework. Our project researches the negotiations between transnational and national normative frames and how the family can be understood with looser ties to national frameworks. 


    An important question here relates to the connection between the family as collective and the individuals it contains. Which subjectivities are practised in transnational families and how do transnational marriages serve as part of individual strategies aimed at quality of life? Why is public interest in these marriages preoccupied with matters of ‘free will' and possible enforcement? This perspective entails considerations of the understandings of ‘the individual' at stake in this field. In the immigration laws, in the public interest in transnational marriages, in research projects and in the accounts on these marriage practises there are different ideas and discourses around the individual. It also seems that individual positioning is carried out in different ways according to social position. Thus, this project includes a focus on ‘the individual' as a concept in possible opposition to ‘the collective', and as a social practice coloured by gender, ethnicity, age, minority-, majority relations amongst other things.


    Participation in the labour market is seen as being one of the signs of an independent individual in Danish society today. It is discussed as such in the public media in relation to transnational marriages and to immigrant family practises. Never the less the knowledge on relations between marriage migration and labour market participation is sparse in Denmark as well as internationally. Do transnational marriages have an effect on how and how much immigrants contribute to the labour market? What is the role of gender in this field? Our project includes statistical research on these questions.


    Thus, MiMa includes research on transnational marriages in the private and the public sphere from an individual and a collective perspective - into the personal experience expressed in the qualitative interviews and the broad tendencies to be found in national surveys.

    Effective start/end date01/07/2005 → …


    • <ingen navn>


    • transnational marriages

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