G4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Ylirajainen avioliitto : puolisovalinta ja avioituminen Suomessa asuvien kurdien keskuudessa (2020)

Häkkinen, A. (2020). Ylirajainen avioliitto : puolisovalinta ja avioituminen Suomessa asuvien kurdien keskuudessa [Doctoral dissertation]. Siirtolaisuusinstituutti. Julkaisuja / Publikationer / Publications (Siirtolaisuusinstituutti), 34. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-7167-91-5

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Häkkinen, Anne

ISBN: 978-952-7167-90-8

eISBN: 978-952-7167-91-5

Journal or series: Julkaisuja / Publikationer / Publications (Siirtolaisuusinstituutti)

ISSN: 2343-3507

eISSN: 2343-3515

Publication year: 2020

Number in series: 34

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto

Publisher: Siirtolaisuusinstituutti

Place of Publication: Turku

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: Finnish

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-7167-91-5

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel


This study examines spousal choice and its gendered dimensions in the Kurdish diaspora, particularly among Kurds resident in Finland. The study focuses on a specific type of marriage migration; transnational marriage, in which migrants marry partners from their families´ homeland or from the same cultural or ethnic background within the diaspora. The research poses the following questions: What transnational courtship and marriages do Kurds resident in Finland enter into? Why do Kurds resident in Finland seek and marry a spouse transnationally? How do individuals and family members engage in negotiations for a suitable partner, in determining the compatibility criteria, and in tackling cultural and social expectations regarding sexuality in translocal and transnational contexts? Transnationality, translocality, intersectionality, ethnicity and agency serve as theoretical and conceptual tools to comprehend the various dimensions of transnational couple formation. The study relies on the social constructionist understanding of reality. Gender, ethnicity and sexuality are thus understood as intertwined, intersecting and as socially and culturally constructed, produced and negotiated. The primary material is 28 ethnographic interviews with single and married Kurds from Iraq, Iran and Turkey conducted in Finland 2011–2013. The experiences and perspectives of young adult Kurdish women are emphasized. Qualitative interview data is analysed using the narrative ethnography approach. In addition, the research uses official statistical data from Statistics Finland on the Kurdish-speaking population of Finland. Statistical material is used to ascertain the prevalence of transnational marriages among Kurds and what discrepancies manifest in the choice of a spouse between genders and Kurds coming from different countries. The findings suggest that transnational marriages are common among Kurds in Finland, and occur within the Kurdish diaspora regardless of individuals’ religious affiliations. Marrying transnationally serves to perpetuate and pass on important cultural characteristics such as mother tongue and religion. In addition, real and experienced scarcity of suitable partners in Finland makes transnational courtship an attractive option for many as it widens the pool of potential partners. The study deconstructs stereotypes related to transnational marriages and the concept of arranged marriage, describing a wide variety of contemporary marriage practices, forms, discourses and opinions related to transnational marriages among Kurds resident in Finland. It also challenges the assumption that women are seen as mere passive objects or victims in transnational marriage practices and the reasons and the motives behind these marriages. Transnational marriages are not merely practices that serve to maintain and preserve “traditional” marriage customs among migrants and their descendants. These practices include new ways of seeking a mate, for example online dating among the younger Kurdish generations. Through online dating young Kurds engage actively in partner-seeking practices in order to find a suitable spouse. The Internet affords autonomy and agency in pair formation not necessarily possible elsewhere. It offers a private space enabling individuals to build relationships more on their own terms, bypass power structures and social control.

Keywords: Kurds; courtship; Internet; online chatting; marriage; arranged marriage; diaspora; religious minorities; transnationalism; immigration; ethnography; ethnicity; ethnology; cultural anthropology

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

Last updated on 2021-07-07 at 21:36