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Migration is on the one hand an opportunity to start from scrap with new chances to start a new life. On the other hand, migration often goes hand in hand with feelings of uprooting, nostalgia, idealised memories, and an identity crisis, which is expressed in a new reality consisting of two parallel running worlds. This schizophrenic world is a mix of idealised ideas and traumas concerning cultural and religious differences, which are passed on to the next generation. For those who reside in their home-country, idealised ideas also play an important role: The West is regarded as the garden of Eden where everything is better. Marriage migration, where a partner from the country of origin marries a son or daughter of migrants and migrates to the West, seems to be the perfect solution. In practice, it often results in a disillusion for both parties, followed by divorce. It is important to pinpoint the underlying processes of marriage migration.

In-depth interviews with Turkish and Moroccan students and parents (who can be strongly involved in the process of partner choice) should help us to identify social, cultural and individual expectation patterns. Some statements from the in-depth interviews will be extracted in order to present them to Turkish and Moroccan students who are in their last year of secondary school. By confronting them with these statements, we intent to unravel how they think about relations, marriage (migration) and sexuality, and the influence that parents (should) have on the process of partner choice. The underlying goal of this research is to open up the discussion about partner choice and marriage.

Complete title: Marriage migration in 3-D: Demystification by in-depth interviews and dialogue.

Researcher: Caroline Servaes
Period: 16/4/2011 tot 15/4/2012

Promoter: Prof. dr. Patrizia Zanoni and dr. Elke Valgaeren
Financed by the Flemish Government, program ‘managers of diversity’