Exploring Intercultural Relationships: A Study of Russian Immigrants Married to Native Israelis

By Remennick, Larissa | Journal of Comparative Family Studies, Autumn 2009 | Go to article overview

Exploring Intercultural Relationships: A Study of Russian Immigrants Married to Native Israelis


Remennick, Larissa, Journal of Comparative Family Studies


INTRODUCTION

Cross-cultural Dating and Marriage

Although intimate relationships between members of different groups forming diverse contemporary societies have always been seen as a sign of on-going integration and attenuation of mutual prejudice, in-depth research on these relationships has been surprisingly sparse (Adams & Trost, 2005). Macro-level sociologists typically used census and panel survey data to follow the trends in intermarriage, recently reporting on the emerging pan-ethnicity in marital choices, e.g., intermarriage between different Asian or Latino minorities (Jacobs & Labov, 2002; Kang Fu, 2007). Legal scholars have explored the history of Black-White marriage and interracial adoptions in the US, including their moral and political implications (Kennedy, 2003). In line with growing social diversity, terminology has also evolved: the adjective "intercultural" is increasingly used as more inclusive alternative to "interracial," especially in non-American contexts. It may refer to. a host of situations, including partners one of whom belongs to the hegemonic majority and the other comes from a minority group, or both come from two different minorities, or one is a recent immigrant of the same or different ethnicity.

Meso-and micro-level studies of exogamous couples have been relatively few and often informed by social-psychology theories of interpersonal attraction or, alternatively, inter-ethnic and group relations. They often drew on North American campus populations and focused on establishing patterns: who dates and marries whom and which personal and social characteristics shape these choices. Generally, American studies tapped on the tension between two opposite principles in partner search in diverse social milieu: the "similarity-attraction" principle and "celebration of differences" one (Brown et al., 2003; Sprecher & Reagan, 2002). A significant predictor of dating across one's group lines is having past "social exposure" to "Others" while growing up, e.g., by studying in multiracial school, international travel or parental circle of friends (Felmlee, 2001; Khatib-Chahidi et al., 1998). Another motive for out-group romantic search reflects on perceived masculine/feminine qualities of "Others" (e.g., docile and appeasing demeanor of Asian women or high earning potential of Jewish men) that are ostensibly lacking among "our own ilk," the theme that often comes to surface in dating ads (Sprecher & Regan, 2002). Similar social status of the' origin families has a stronger influence on inter-ethic partner choice than do religious differences or geographic location of origin countries (Brown et al., 2003; Yancey, 2002). Social support and approval by the friends and families is a salient factor of continuity of interethnic relationships (Felmlee, 2001).

In-depth studies of intercultural marriages transcending mere demographics are sparse and typically informed by a family therapy perspective (McFadden, 2001) and/or serve as self-help guides for individuals in such marriages (Romano, 2001; Visson, 2001). Few sociologists and social anthropologists explored the internal dynamics of intercultural marriage from the standpoint of identity, power relations, and gender roles using qualitative or ethnographic methods. A rare example of this approach is Breger and Hill's 1998 volume Cross-Cultural Marriage that brings together the studies in different countries and ethnic groups written from legal, sociological, and inter-personal perspectives. This and a few other publications suggest that individuals prone to long-term intercultural relationships often share some generic features: the perceived primacy of individual partner's qualities versus group stereotypes, universalism, secularism, and higher educational and social status (or rapid social mobility) compared to the origin group's average, as well as a higher sense of personal autonomy (Datzman & Gardner, 2000; Khatib-Chahidi et al. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Exploring Intercultural Relationships: A Study of Russian Immigrants Married to Native Israelis
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.