Mixed marriages with foreigners in Slovakia

Silvia Letavajová, Jana Hučková
Department of Culture and Tourism Management, Faculty of Arts, Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Štefánikova 67, 949 74 Nitra, Slovakia
Email: sletavajova@ukf.sk, jhuckova@ukf.sk

Mixed marriages with foreigners in Slovakia
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7160/KS.2018.110202
Author: Silvia Letavajová, Jana Hučková
Language: English
Issue: 2/2018
Page Range: 36-53
No. of Pages: 18
Keywords: Citizenship, choice of partner, endogamy, marriage with foreigner, migration, statistical data
The subject of the presented study is mixed marriages with foreigners in Slovakia created mainly in the last decade. Marital preferences are studied in terms of citizenship as well as from the perspective of gender. Our objective is to answer the question whether it is possible to find certain patterns of behaviour in partner selection. Our primary sources of information are data from the Statistical Office of the Ministry of Interior. The results show that Slovakia has a relatively strong marriage endogamy as far as the citizenship of the partners is concerned. The findings also reflect the isolation of country, poor contact with foreigners and the low number of foreigners in Slovakia nowadays. Behaviour in marriage is apparently dependent on the moderate prevalence of the number of Slovak women over men, who leave the country, as well as on the composition of immigrants in Slovakia, where, on the contrary, men outnumber women. Slovak women and men tend to choose their partners, mainly from countries, which are close – geographically, linguistically, religiously, culturally (the Czech Republic and other neighbouring countries, EU countries). Women marry foreigners more often than men. Women are more likely than men to marry husbands from geographically and culturally different environment.

The choice of a spouse in Slovak tradition was part of a stable system of models, norms and values whose main aim was the stability and effectiveness of marriage and consequently the integrity of the community. Most of the criteria that applied to a suitable spouse were based on the principle of partner similarity – endogamy. Endogamy, as the predominant type of matrimonial preference, meant choosing from the same or similar groups and environments, referred to as “our”. It was related mainly to the spatial (local), ethnic, religious and social proximity of the partners. The “foreign” and “remote” attributes reflected the extent of the known world (foreign cultures) as well as the ability to move within it and to cross its borders. The small-scale mobility of the population, the isolation as well as other factors meant that the traditional understanding of the term “foreign” and “foreigner” were different compared to the contemporary perception of geographical distances. In the past these terms referred to localities that were relatively close – a partner from another part of the village, neighbouring village, another region or district. In the modern society, the marriage market is increasingly expanding and moving beyond the territory of Slovakia. Globalization and migration processes (emigration of Slovaks abroad, the arrival of migrants to this territory, as well as virtual contact with other cultures through the media) increase the likelihood of meeting a foreigner – in the language of today’s legal practice – a partner of another nationality.
The aim of this study is to characterize the marriages of Slovaks with foreigners in the context of statistical data. In the introductory part of the text we will describe the cultural and historical background and preconditions that are likely to influence these marriages. We will then analyse the marriage preferences of Slovaks according to the official statistical data available for the period from 2008 to 2016. Our aim will be to find out whether it is possible to observe certain patterns of behaviour in the marriage strategies, but also the differences that will be studied from the point of view of gender. The primary sources of information are in particular data from Eurostat and the Statistical Office of the Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic about the marriage rate of the population.

Celý příspěvek / Full Text Paper: Mixed marriages with foreigners in Slovakia


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