• Kim Lindgaard Jørgensen
This thesis examines the migrant experience of female Turkish marriage migrants living in Vollsmose. Based on semi-structured life story interviews with six marriage migrants, the thesis investigates their hopes and expectations in relation to life in Denmark, and the realities of the lived life. This thesis is based on an inductive approach, and is designed as a case study. To investigate the migrant experience, I use a theoretical framework consisting of Axel Honneth’s theory of social recognition, James J. Chriss’ understanding of the concept of social control, and the concept of social exclusion.

Most of the female Turkish migrants enter into marriage migration as a result of an arranged marriage, and the majority of them did not want to leave Turkey. Generally, the women have very limited knowledge of Denmark, and their notions are often shaped by what they are told by their future husband and his family. Moreover, they based their expectations on an idealized Europe as a consequence of seeing other Turkish migrants returning on vacation, seemingly enjoying a richer and freer lifestyle.

The study shows how the female marriage migrants built up hopes of getting an education and obtaining a good job, which they conceptualize as helping other people, mainly senior citizens, children, vulnerable groups, and other immigrants. At the same time, they are often very realistic about their hopes before coming to Denmark.

Furthermore, the study finds that for most of the women life in Denmark turns out to be very different from what they had hoped. Most of them struggle to find footholds in the Danish society in the beginning, primarily as a result of living in an extended household with their husband and family-in-law. Informal control within the household impedes the women’s opportunities of participating in some of the most important arenas for language learning, such as education and social activities. The study also finds that to several of the women, taking a low-paying and hard-working job is a rational choice based on prioritizations, where financial and social security is more important than their hopes of getting an education.

The study further shows how the women often find it difficult to integrate into Danish society because of a lack of recognition and self-esteem. The women leave their family in Turkey in a very young age, and often find it difficult to become part of their new family in Denmark. This influences their feeling of being excluded from the most basic spheres of life. When the women have children and leave the extended household to live with their husband and children, most of them start to feel a stronger sense of belonging to Denmark, and experience inclusion in society.
Publication date31 Aug 2015
Number of pages212
ID: 218194941