Schmidt, Garbi. ‘Law and Identity: Transnational Arranged Marriages and the Boundaries of Danishness’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, vol. 37, no. 2, Routledge, Feb. 2011, pp. 257–275.
In Denmark, the practice of transnational arranged marriages among immigrants has stirred debate on several levels of society. One effect of the debate is a tightened regulation of family formation migration, seen as an effective means both of limiting the number of immigrants and of furthering processes of social integration. Within media-based and political debates, transnational marriages are frequently described as practices destructive both to individual freedom and to Danish national identity. Nonetheless, it is a practice in which both minority and majority citizens engage, one that frames both their family lives and their lives as citizens. This article analyses the dynamic relationship between public discourse and practices of transnational marriage. The first part describes how political and legislative perceptions of transnational (arranged) marriages are situated within a discussion of ‘Danishness’. The second part describes how second-generation immigrants from Turkey and Pakistan, all of whom have married someone from their country of origin, articulate how public discourse on transnationally arranged marriages affects their lives. This part particularly focuses on the informants’ expressions of autonomy and choice and their adaptations of such concepts to understandings of social belonging, inclusion and identity formation vis-à-vis the Danish nation-state.