Mieke Vandenbroucke (Ghent University/UC Berkeley, Linguistics/Anthropology)

Event Date: 

Friday, October 20, 2017 -
1:30pm to 3:30pm

Event Location: 

  • Education 1205

"Legal-administrative assessments of genuine cross-border love in Belgian marriage fraud investigations"

Speaker: Mieke Vandenbroucke (Ghent University and UC Berkeley, Linguistics and Anthropology)


Legal-administrative assessments of genuine cross-border love in Belgian marriage fraud investigations

Mieke Vandenbroucke

Cross-border marriage applications by a Belgian citizen/resident with a non-European citizen/resident have in recent years become heavily scrutinized by municipal authorities in Belgium in an attempt to crack down on immigration fraud, as the statute of legal marriage in Belgium warrants residency rights for the non-European spouse (Verhellen 2016). Such marriage fraud investigations are decentralised, multi-phased, interview-based and highly textual procedures and their outcome (approval or rejection) has far-reaching consequences for marriage applicants’ civil and migration status. In my postdoctoral research, I adopt a linguistic ethnographic approach and combine ethnographic and discourse analytic methods (Rampton 2006; Copland & Creese 2015) to reach a better understanding of the discursive and multilingual processes involved in how local municipal authorities decide to police cross-border and globally superdiverse human relationships.