Gender concerns: Domestic violence in bi-national couples in Europe – PhD project of Marion Uhle

red-30631_640Domestic violence remains a real problem in the European Union. There is still a gender gap in practice. The recent EU-wide survey concerning violence against women illustrates this.

While the EU has established gender norms, new variables have appeared and might challenge these current norms. The EU has welcomed new member states and reinforced cooperation with countries and regions outside the European space. Migration is part of these processes, and currently one can observe a tendency towards the creation of bi-national couples, mostly in cities.

In my research project, my aim is to bring these components together. The EU’s egalitarian perspective might be shaped when two people from two completely different places get together.

In a first step, I plan to observe the private space in order to see whether there is a link between certain types of domestic violence and the new phenomenon which is the bi-national couple. A typology of violence is important here: What is violence? Are bi-national couples more exposed to the danger of violence within their relationship than other couples? What specificity for a couple composed of a European man and a non-European women and vice versa? What factors might intervene and lead to a conflict in a bi-national couple (the conception concerning gender roles, the cultural context, the social class, education, mentality, religion, possible economic problems)? It is also important here to observe in which urban space these couples live and what sort of access to support they have and use.

In a further step, I aim to bring the issue back to the European level: How might possibly violent conflicts in bi-national couples challenge the egalitarian social construction concerning gender established by the EU? How and to what extent would the EU have to rethink its gender norms, considering new, intervening variables such as a double-discrimination which certain groups of people might suffer from when experiencing domestic violence?




Marion Uhle studied Political and Social Sciences at Sciences Po Paris and at Freie Universität Berlin where she completed a double-Bachelor, which was followed by a Master in International Relations at Sciences Po Paris. Since autumn 2013, she has been enrolled at Strasbourg University and has worked on her PhD thesis. Marion Uhle holds a PhD position within the research project “Saisir l’Europe – Europa als Herausforderung”.

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