EURO-COUPLES: Socialization, Transnational Adult Practices, and Identification
One of the main goals of the international research project “Toward a European Society: SingleMarket, Binational Marriages, and Social Group Formation in Europe (EUMARR)” is to explore the role of intermarriage in establishing links across borders in the context of European Union integration. The research project combines demographic analysis of official data, a survey of couples with two European spouses and qualitative interviews with migrants selected among the survey participants. Here we argue that marriages between Europeans can promote the development of trans-European solidarity ties and may in this regard contribute to European identity formation. However the analysis of marriage figures between Europeans since 1990 in different European countries (Belgium, The Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland) indicates that European binational marriages are still rather rare and that binational European couples are not a homogenous group. Our findings point towards the continued relevance of local geography, migrant history and patterns, as well as cultural and linguistic similarities for partner choice in a unified Europe. These results are confronted with the preliminary results of the on-line survey conducted with a representative sample of Euro-couples in the same four countries. We expect that the information on their socialization and transnational practices might partially explain intermarriage and the resulting identification patterns.