Intermarriages and Inclusion. Time and Space of Love, Laws and Norms

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 8:45 AM
Room: Booth 60
Oral Presentation
Laura ODASSO , Université Libre de Bruxelles GERME, Belgium
Based on a number of case studies of women and men involved in intermarriages in Europe, the intervention explores how these marriages and their consequences could challenge the concepts of inclusion and exclusion. “Intermarriages” refers here to couples formed by a European Union citizen and a “Third Country National” (TCN). A TCN is a citizen of a non-EU country who resides in a European Member State, and is thus affected by some specific regulations and administrative practices. Furthermore, the distinctions found in migration laws and administrative practices seem not to be limited to citizenship (e.g. dichotomy UE citizens/TCNs), but extend to features that differentiate certain TCNs from others on the basis of categories such as ethnicity, religion, gender and social class – all of them included in anti-discrimination laws. The requirements included in compulsory integration tests for TCNs who apply for residence or naturalization [Strik & al., 2012; Hajjat, 2010] display an overlapping of these categories [Groenendijk, 2006].

Moreover, if laws and family codes (e.g. Personal Status code, civil codes) influence the legal definition of inclusion, other unwritten norms that normalize homogamy may affect the sense of inclusion and modify the concept of “otherness” according to the configurations in which the members of these couples act [Saskia & al., 2011].

Bi-national family biographies suggest that what is “normal” for the members of these families vary according to time (e.g. before or after 2000) and to space (e.g. European Union vs. outside).

The method of “biographical policies evaluation” [Delcroix, 2013; Apitzsch & al., 2008] allows understanding the effects of categories as citizenship, denizenship [Bosniak, 2001] and dis-citizenship [Wodak, 2013] on these families and the strategies adopted by their members (e.g. “doing being ordinary” [Varro, 2004; Inowlocki, 2000; Sacks, 1984]) to deal with, or at least to report, their perception of inclusion.