Liversage, Anika, and Mikkel Rytter. ‘A Cousin Marriage Equals a Forced Marriage: Transnational Marriages between Closely Related Spouses in Denmark’. Cousin Marriages: Between Tradition, Genetic Risk and Cultural Change, Eds. Alison Shaw and Aviad Raz, Oxford ; New York, NY: Berghahn, 2015, 130–153.
This chapter first outlines the recent historical political context of Denmark in which this specific rule of supposition took shape. Before 2001, heated debate concerned whether, and if so, how to distinguish between ‘forced marriages’ and ‘arranged marriages’ in certain immigrant groups. Later, with the introduction of the rule of supposition in 2003, the deciding factor now became whether couples were ‘closely related, and otherwise closer related relatives’ (relationships presented as highly problematic ones, with strong indications of enforcement) or not. In this respect both the problem and the potential political solution changed within a few years. Second, we present two extended cases, of the Danish-Pakistani couple Hamid and Aisha and the Danish-Turkish couple Baha and Gülser, to shed light on the experiences that transnational couples may have with the rule of supposition1. Last, to illustrate the clash between the views of the authorities and those of an affected couple about the character of their marriage, we present a third exemplary adjudication, taken from the home page of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Integration. Throughout, the chapter discusses the workings of state classification. Here, transnationally married couples may experience having their own understandings of their marriages overturned, and their life trajectories torqued in the confrontation with bureaucratic classifications of the state (cf. Bowker & Star 2000). The chapter also presents strategies that transnational couple may use or seek to use to put their life trajectories back on track and establish their desired family life.