1st Edition

Europe in Love Binational Couples and Cosmopolitan Society

By Juan Díez Medrano Copyright 2020
    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    Inter-marriage both reflects and brings social change. This book draws on a unique survey of randomly selected samples of national and European binational couples to demonstrate that the latter are core cells of a future European society.

    Unrestricted freedom of movement has enabled a rise in the number of lower-class and middle-class binational couples among Europeans. Euro-couples fully integrate in their host cities but secure less support in solving everyday problems than do national ones, partly because of a relatively small network of relatives living close-by. Embeddedness in a dense international network and a cosmopolitan outlook also distinguish them from national couples. The book challenges the view of cosmopolitanism as exclusively middle-class and highlights contrasts between lower-class and middle-class binational couples. Furthermore, it shows that social cosmopolitanism among binational couples is not matched by a commensurate weaker national identification that would enhance support to a more federal Europe.

    This book is primarily addressed to the general public interested in contemporary European society and to academics interested in inter-marriage. Since the chapters are quasi stand-alone pieces devoted to specific topics, it provides suitable reading material for social stratification, social networks, civil society, popular culture, and European integration undergraduate and graduate courses.

    1. Introduction

    2. When Willem met Laura: Who enters National and Binational Couples?

    3. Sociability

    4. Making a Living

    5. Civil and Political Engagement

    6. Taste and Cultural Practices

    7. Identities

    8. Conclusion


    Juan Díez Medrano is Professor of Sociology at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain). The focus of his research is the study of nationalism and European integration. His publications include Divided Nations (1995) and Framing Europe (2003).

    "Scholars and policy analysts have spent the last 20 years or so focused on institutions that create transnationalism and cross-cultural integration. They have overlooked the most obvious institution—marriage. Juan Diez Medrano’s important new book explores how transnational marriage creates dynamic cosmopolitan social forms. This meticulously researched book is a landmark study that scholars of nationalism and cross culturalism will cite for years to come." 

    — Mabel Berezin, Department of Sociology, Cornell University

    "With the political project of building Europe failing, we may need to look to everyday life to see if EU integration is having any irreversible sociological consequences. The obvious place to look is international marriage and family life, as a core building block of the cross-border kinship networks that might sustain a more cosmopolitan future. In this, the very first systematic study of intra-EU love across borders, Díez Medrano again pioneers a new kind of transnational sociology. Notably he challenges easy assumptions that successful cosmopolitanism is the exclusive preserve of upper and middle classes. This quite literally sexy study deserves wide attention for the virtuoso methodology and analysis on display throughout."

    — Adrian Favell, Chair in Sociology and Social Theory, University of Leeds

    This very important book explores a crucial but under-researched dimension of the Europeanisation of everyday life; the author unearths some often surprising and counter-intuitive results. Social scientists concerned with the further development of a European society will want to read this study, and it should inspire much further work.

    — William Outhwaite, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Newcastle University, UK

    "Juan Diez Medrano continues to dig deeper into the social and cultural underpinnings of European integration by focusing on binational couples – a strategic minority in the redefinition of nation-based habitus, lifestyles and identifications. Europe in Love is another must read for anybody interested in the future of Europe beyond the controversies and vagaries of EU politics."

    — Ettore Recchi, Professor of Sociology, Sciences Po Paris


    "In all, Europe in Love represents an extraordinary accomplishment from a scholar whose previous works have repeatedly deepened our understanding of the sociology and politics of the EU. As usual with Díez Medrano’s scholarship, in reading this book, we end up wiser about the fascinating and unprecedented path of European integration—and the role of love and marriage in its outcome."

    --Kathleen R. McNamara is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University