18 June: Colloquium “Changes in the transnational marriages of youths of Turkish and Moroccan origin” by Leen Sterckx (The Netherlands Institute for Social Research)

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Date(s) - 18/06/14
3:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Grote Gracht 80-82, Spiegelzaal (Soiron Building) Maastricht


Changes in the transnational marriages of youths of Turkish and Moroccan origin

By Leen Sterckx (The Netherlands Institute for Social Research)

Globalisation, Transnationalism and Development research program/ FASoS and MACIMIDE colloquium

Discussant: Bilisuma B. Dito (FASoS, Maastricht University)

Abstract: The last decade has seen a sharp decline in the number of so called ‘second generation’ youths of Turkish and Moroccan descent marrying a spouse from their parents’ home country. This decline is to a large extent contributes to changes in transnational extended family-ties. Around the turn of the century, three fourth of youths of Turkish and Moroccan origin who had grown up in the Netherlands, married a spouse who had grown up in Turkey or Morocco, respectively, in a family closely connected to that of the Dutch resident spouse. Responsibility toward the transnational family and loyalty to migrant parents provided the main motivation for choosing a bride or groom from among the kinship network in the country of origin. Arranged marriages and marriages of convenience were (and still are) common fare to these youths, especially when it comes to a migration marriage to a spouse from the country of origin. A complex interplay of developments, among which an ever more restrictive migration regime, the economic crisis in Western Europe vs. economic growth in Turkey and waning emotional ties to relatives resident in the country of origin have seen the aforementioned decline in marriage migration from Turkey and Morocco. A new type of transnational Turkish or Moroccan marriage has gained prominence: that of Turkish and Moroccan-Dutch vacationers and international students. These are generally motivated by a more personal logic than the traditional family oriented marriages. Dutch resident parents are ever less keen on a transnational marriage to close kin, because of negative experiences with the migration marriages of previous generations. From 2007 on, the number of marriage migrants from Turkey and Morocco has stabilized. Turkey and Morocco still are the number one and two countries of origin of spousal migration. Yet, I would argue, transnational marriage involving Turkish and Moroccan spouses has changed profoundly, due to transitions in the migrants’ family relations.

Leen Sterckx studied Sociology in Leuven, Belgium and did a European Master of Labour Sciences at the University of Louvain-la-Neuve and the Instituto Superior de Ciencias do Trabalho e da Empresa in Lisbon, Portugal. From 2000 until 2005 she worked as a junior scientific staff member at SISWO Social Policy Research in Amsterdam, where she was involved in several qualitative research projects regarding the life choices of immigrant youths of Turkish and Moroccan origin. Between 2005 and 2012 she was a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam and a PhD-candidate at the Amsterdam Institute of Social Science Research. Recently she has finished up a dissertation on the way Turkish and Moroccan immigrant families deal with youths’ ethnic intermarriage, the publication of which is due in the summer of 2014. From September 2012 on she has been coordinating a research project on marriage migration at the Netherlands Institute for Social Research.