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Title: Negotiating differences in mixed marriages : Christians and Muslims in Greece
Author: Papadopoulou, Dora
ISNI:       0000 0004 9354 4815
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2016
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Christian-Muslim mixed couples in Greece challenge marital norms and group identifications through re-negotiation of religious affiliations, identifications and practices. They are sociologically significant because they contest historically and socially constructed ethnic, cultural and religious differentiations in the specific Greek context. These couples link nuanced and subtle dimensions of conjugal mixedness in the family formation process with Muslim migration and the indigenous Muslim minority communities. My doctoral research analyses religious negotiations, practices and strategies of mixed Christian - Muslim families in Greece and investigates intergenerational transmissions and interactions between mixed couples and extended families in transnational and translocal networks of social relationships. The research draws on in-depth interviews with Christian and Muslim participants of diverse socioeconomic characteristics and national background. Analysing mixed marriages according to the institutional affiliation to Islam and Orthodox Christianity captured Christian - Muslim intermarriage with different Muslim populations: Near, Middle East and South East Asian Muslim-born immigrants, native minority Muslims and Greek converts to Islam. I follow intermarriage as an iterative process of trajectories and awakenings to mixedness and present identity shifts and exchanges, negotiations and practices during the family formation process. Novel data on the everyday and festive, religious and social practices of mixed and homogamous families shed light on how mixed couples put their worldviews into practice and how religious practice is incorporated into mixed family life. Conjugal mixedness is reproduced and represented, asserted and contested in religious, cultural and ethnic transmissions, parenting, “multiple-mixing” upbringing and naming of children in Christian – Muslim families. Intermarriage has acquired social visibility in Greece, even though is far from being integrated as a social norm. Mixed couples live, reside and locate themselves within the specific socioeconomic context of economic and humanitarian crisis in contemporary Greece. There are different lifestyle patterns of multilevel being, living and belonging of mixed couples within Greek society. Discrimination, racism and xenophobia against immigrants and minorities provoke social exclusion and precariousness for some mixed couples that are socially visible and mostly affected by phenotypical prejudice. Social processes of exclusion do not result only from ‘being’ a foreigner or an immigrant, they also result from ‘being with’ a foreigner or an immigrant. Religion as a social signifier of mixedness differs significantly from one relationship to another. The many facets of differentiation in mixed Christian and Muslim relationships are combined to produce distinctive and unique forms of conjugal mixedness in a wide repertoire of moral, cultural and religious systems. My research contributes knowledge in the study of intermarriage and mixedness by bringing religion into focus and analysing dynamic and negotiable self-identifications with ethno-cultural and religious affiliations and practices in Christian – Muslim conjugal mixedness and family formation. It takes the analysis beyond a simple focus on religion to link family with migration and minoritisation social processes and reveal complicated border crossings through conversion, intersections between gender, class, power and agency and potential of intermarriage for sociocultural transformations through interactions, exchanges and reciprocity of mixed couples and their extended families in transnational and translocal social networks.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: European Social Fund (ESF) ; Government of Greece
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available