9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN31 Ethnic Relations, Racism and Antisemitism

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Patterns of European Prejudice II Building II, C5.09

Attitudes towards Interracial Marriage

This paper will present the preliminary findings of my ongoing research on attitudes towards interracial marriage. The results presented in this paper are based on a postal survey conducted in Malmö, Sweden?s third largest city; a city with a high concentration of residents with foreign backgrounds. The aim of the research is to examine the attitudes Swedes living in Malmö have towards interracial marriage.

Whether interracial marriage occurs or not depend on two aspects: Opportunity and preference. Opportunity of interracial marriage depends on different factors such as the amount of contacts. Preference is influenced by prevailing stereotypes and prejudices about different racial groups. Marriage between people of the same race (racial homogamy) sustains the rules about race and racial boundaries, while racial exogamy questions the stability of racial groups. Racial endogamy becomes especially important when a membership in a racial group limits access to resources and power in the society. Interracial marriage challenges people's idea and boundary of "us and them". Therefore studying attitudes towards interracial marriage reveals much about racial and ethnic relations.

This paper explores Swedes' preferences and attitudes towards interracial dating and marriage. Departing from the assumption that interracial marriage depends on opportunity and preference, I will examine how previous contacts and the context in which people of different racial background meet have an effect on the attitudes towards interracial dating and marriage. This paper also aims to disclose how racial prejudices and attitudes towards immigrants in general are related to attitudes towards interracial marriage.