Indian Danish intermarriage: Motivational Dynamics in context of Modernity

Rashmi Singla, Sujata Sriram

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review


This paper explores motivations of Indian partner in mixed Indian-Danish couples living in Denmark. One of the characteristics of modernity is increased movements across borders, leading to increased intimate relationships across national/ethnic borders. The main research question here deals with the reasons for couple ‘getting together’. How do motives interplay with the gender- and the family generational, socio -economical categories?
The paper draws from an explorative study conducted in Denmark among intermarried couples, consisting of in-depth interviews with ten ‘ordinary’ intermarried couples combined with two clinical cases (Singla, 2015). Illustrative narratives of two Indian women married to Danish men and an Indian man married to a Danish woman are focus of this paper.
The theoretical framework combines intersectionality approach with cultural psychological trajectory equifinality model (TEM), transnationalism and a phenomenological approach to sexual desire and love.
We find that there are three different pathways, highlighting commonality of work identity, a cosmopolitan identity and academic interests, where differential changing patterns of privileges and power are also evoked. However, “falling in love” is pointed as the dominant reason for the intimate relation formation. Furthermore, results indicate differential generational, gender acceptance of the mixed marriage implying complex patterns of modernity within the extended family and ‘community’ involving religion, caste, region and socio-economic aspects.
These findings challenge the simplistic economic dichotomy about exogamy between the global North and global South, are discussed with other studies, among others a study about foreign-born spouses living in Japan, revealing two dominant motivations behind their migration to Japan: social and economic necessity and social and economic opportunity (Morgan et al, 2016).
Finally these narratives are analysed focussing both on the potentials and risks of mixed marriages, for enhancing couples through mental health promotion and psychosocial counselling.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date1 Sep 2016
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
EventConference on Modernity (2016): Modern Matters: Negotiating the Future of Everyday Life in South Asia - Lund Universitet, Lund, Sweden
Duration: 20 Sep 201622 Sep 2016


ConferenceConference on Modernity (2016)
LocationLund Universitet
Internet address

Bibliographical note

Panel No. 4: ‘Staging Marriage and Modernity among the Middle classes in South Asia’

Cite this