Love Across Borders: On Population Structures, Meeting Places and Preferences in a Globalizing World

Schroedter, Julia; Rössel, Jürg; Chiapparini, Emanuela (2020). Love Across Borders: On Population Structures, Meeting Places and Preferences in a Globalizing World Journal of comparative family studies, 51(1), pp. 18-58. University of Toronto Press 10.3138/jcfs.51.1.003

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In our paper, we study the factors shaping the formation of four different types of marriage in Switzerland: marriages with a Swiss partner, marriages with partners from the neighboring countries which are geographically proximate and where one of the official languages of Switzerland is spoken, marriages with partners from other European countries and with partners from overseas. Going beyond the current state of research, we study not only the national structural characteristics of the Swiss partner market and the individual resources of the spouses, but the actual meeting places of the partners and their reasons for being in these locations. Thus, we analyze whether, in a globalizing world and partner market, it is still primarily national opportunity structures that shape different forms of intermarriage. Using a mixed-methods approach we first show, based on census data, that the probability of these marriages is shaped by the structural opportunities of the partner market in Switzerland and individual characteristics like age and education. Secondly, relying on survey information, we demonstrate that bi-national relationships exhibit a specific pattern of meeting places: in particular, those couples with one partner from a non-neighboring or non-European country often meet abroad and in more open foci of activity. This has not previously been demonstrated empirically in the research literature and clearly shows that that the factors shaping these marriages are not covered by a theoretical model focusing on the structural opportunities of national societies. Finally, we scrutinize narrative interviews and show that meeting a spouse abroad is the result of both specific partner preferences and patterns of spatial mobility. Thus, global opportunity structures are to a certain degree shaped by individual agency.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Social Work > Social Intervention focus area
School of Social Work > S Teaching
School of Social Work
School of Social Work > Institute for Childhood, Youth and Family


Schroedter, Julia;
Rössel, Jürg and
Chiapparini, Emanuela0000-0002-1796-088X


H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)




University of Toronto Press




Emanuela Chiapparini

Date Deposited:

16 Mar 2020 09:50

Last Modified:

01 Dec 2022 21:46

Publisher DOI:


Additional Information:

ISSN 1929-9850 (online)




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