Proving Love? The Governance of Migrants' Privacy, Marriage and Sexuality

Borrelli, Lisa Marie; Eule, Tobias Georg (28 August 2015). Proving Love? The Governance of Migrants' Privacy, Marriage and Sexuality (Unpublished). In: 12th Conference of the European Sociological Association (ESA) - "Differences, Inequalities and Sociological Imagination". Prag, Czech Republic. 25.-28.08.2015.

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This paper analyses current developments and research outcomes at the intersection of two important paradigms: migration management and sexuality. Recent high court decisions and legal changes in Europe have stressed that non-citizens have a right to freely act out their sexual orientation, be it within the context of “traditional”, often religiously defined marriage and family life or in other forms of sexuality, without stigma or harassment. In both cases discussed, the state is tasked to respect the right of migrants to partnerships, and to protect them from potential persecution in other nations. In both cases, relationships and sexual practices can lead to the attainment of legal residence, even trumping other considerations such as employment or qualification. However, this extension of migrant rights is always accompanied with the fear of abuse.
Based on original ethnographic research as well as an analysis of recent court cases and grey documents, we examine how immigration authorities decide on these cases. We argue that in order to prevent abuse, officials often go far beyond an acceptable infringement of privacy. However, this is due to a lack of supervision and guidelines, as well as the stark vulnerability of applicants, who in order to appear cooperative see themselves forced to comply with these infringements. Instead of seeing them as acts of pure humiliation, the practices should rather be seen as misguided practices of immigrant selection, often formed by traditional religious expectations of social life, which can be managed and curtailed.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


02 Faculty of Law > Department of Legal Theory and History of Law > Legal and Political Theory
03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology

UniBE Contributor:

Borrelli, Lisa Marie and Eule, Tobias Georg


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 320 Political science
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 340 Law
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Tobias Georg Eule

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2016 15:28

Last Modified:

04 Oct 2016 15:28


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