Marriage at the intersection between tradition and globalization: Turkish marriage migration between Emirdag and Belgium from 1989 to present
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences. Sociology
The history of the family. - Greenwich, Conn.
, p. 232-244
University of Antwerp
In this paper, we will investigate the popularity of marriage migration between Turkish communities in Western Europe and emigration regions in Turkey. Our focus here is specifically on the Belgian case, namely the Emirdag connection. In Belgium, the majority of immigrants with a Turkish background come from the region of Emirdag, in the province of Afyon. On the basis of quantitative research methodologies, we first consider the magnitude of the phenomenon and the socio-economic situation of those involved. Using the qualitative research techniques of participant observation and in-depth interviews, we analyze the mechanisms in an attempt to explain marriage migration between these regions. Why do so many young people, born and raised in Western Europe, opt for an unknown partner from a region that is largely unknown to them but which proves to be their parents', or even grandparents', region of origin? Why does migration remain such a valuable life project for many young people in these regions of origin, despite the real danger of many negative side effects? The popularity of marriage migration is often explained by its role in making migration possible. However, migration theories alone cannot explain this phenomenon. Here we will argue that the existence of a culture of migration that binds the region of origin with the region of destination and in which the family as an institution is capable of building a bridge between traditional praxis, as well as the challenges linked to international migration, are crucial for understanding the enduring popularity of marriage migration.