New research challenges on intermarriage and mixedness in Europe and beyond

Conference, November 12-13, 2015, Paris
  • Photo Esther Cantero, Day 128-365.Love via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND)Photo Esther Cantero, Day 128-365.Love via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND)

Maison de la Recherche, Paris Sorbonne University, 75006 Paris


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Free admission subject to availability


Research on intermarriage has existed since the beginning of the 20th century. Depending on the country, it was part of different research fields: migration, family, religious or racial studies. Existing empirical studies generally circumscribe their analysis to one minority group in one country. But what are the common aspects of all these case studies on intermarriage? This international conference aims to review and discuss contemporary research in order to build up our stock of common knowledge and develop our theoretical conceptualization on intermarriage and mixedness.
Multiple theoretical concepts have been used to refer to mixed couples or their children: intermarriage, identity, integration, assimilation, multiculturalism, etc. New concepts have also been used, such as “mixedness” in the UK (Edwards et al. 2012) or “mixité” (Varro 2003; Collet et al. 2008) in the French context. A common definition of the phenomenon is that these unions involve distant social groups which are constructed in time and place through specific categories: “nation”, “race”, “culture”, “ethnicity” or “religion” (Merton 1964; Achard 1998) and that their children construct their personal identity taking their parents’ belongings into account. Previous research was done from two standpoints: from outside or inside the couple or family. The first has looked mainly at the others’ (persons and institutions) perception of these unions, families or children and social norms. They are considered as different, and inspire more or less disapproval. The second approach has dealt with intercultural management inside these families (Varro 1984; Collet and Santelli 2012), and with specific family or personal identities (Unterreiner 2015). With researchers specialized in the field, we intend to get beyond these basic definitions of mixedness and establish a new common theoretical ground based on contemporary innovative research findings.


Main sessions
Symbolic boundaries in personal experiences
Family & mixedness
Intermarriage & partner choice
Mixedness & intermarriage, social representations
State, public policies & mixedness
Transnational partnering

Keynote speeches



  • Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim (Institute for Cosmopolitan Studies, Munich University, Germany), “Intermarriage in the age of globalization: From intercultural differences to methodological challenges”.


  • Paul Spickard (Department of History, University of California Santa Barbara, United States), “Not Passing--Shape Shifting: Reflections on Racial Plasticity”.

Posters session


Contact the organisers: Anne Unterreiner (OSC-Sciences Po) - Beate.collet (Gemass-Paris Sorbonne).


Partnership