Transnational Intimacy: Negotiations on Gender Relations in the Context of Marriage Migration By Moroccan and Turkish Men to Germany

Monday, July 14, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: 313+314
Oral Presentation
Anil AL-REBHOLZ , Social Sciences, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Under the conditions of globalized and displaced love (Petersen 2012; Calloni 2012) some new forms of family and (bi-cultural/ multicultural) intimate relations are emerging in transnational migration context. Marriage migration through familial networks and ties, which is also known as the transnational marriage in the literature, constitutes one specific type of newly emerging world-families (Beck & Beck-Gernsheim 2011). The authors who work on the issue of marriage migration draw especially attention to the fact that marriage migration should be understood as a subtype of family-led migration (Kofman 2004), and in this sense it entails a gendered migration experience (Beck-Gernsheim 2007). Though the “imported brides” is a much discussed phenomena in the migration literature, there has been done little research on the “imported grooms”. Focusing on Turkish and Moroccan male migrants, who could migrate to Germany through a marriage with a female descendant (second or third generation) of migrant families resident in Germany, this paper looks at the asymmetrical power relations between the couples (pertaining to the citizenship, labour market, language competency, knowledge of dominant norms and rules of the receiving country) and examine how  the notions of womanhood and manhood will be renegotiated in the context of transnational intimate relations. Thus, drawing on the concepts of transnational family networks and the concept of world-families combined with the insights of sociology of intimacy (Eva Illouz 2012), the paper raises the question whether the male marriage migration might be ending up in the change of constellation of familial power relations, and in gender relations between married couples, hence denoting the reversal of gender order in migration context. The paper is based on biographical- narrative interviews conducted with Turkish and Moroccan couples in the frame of the research project “Reversal of the Gender Order? Male Marriage Migration to Germany by North African and Turkish Men”.