Interethnic marriages: between an exercise of tolerance and a modern expression of indifference. 1895-2010
The ethnic and confessional diversity of Transylvania had shape certain demographical behaviours. Over the centuries, the Romanian’s relations with other ethnic groups in Transylvania were not always peaceful, but not extremely troubled. Towards confrontation - often occurred from ideological reasons - between the Romanians, Hungarians, Germans, Jews and other people there was specific moments when they had fight and built together, moment when they found “meeting areas”, became relatives and had assumed a common destiny. The mixed marriage was, in our opinion, one of these “meeting area”. We perceive the mixed marriage as a scene where the ethnic and confessional diversity act in its positives aspects, and also generating the social cohesion. The aspects we described before were completed by the continuous oscillation of Transylvania between the Central and Eastern Europe. That is way we are focused on Transylvania as one of the best choices for a case studies about mixed marriages.
The research of mixed marriages was inspired by the idea that diversity of customs and cultures is, for centuries, one of the Europe’s - and also of Romania’s - assets. The ethnic tolerance and peaceful cohabitation was, at least for the last decades, the guarantee for an open society and consideration for cultural diversity. On the other hand, there are many examples in Europe that application of this generous principle was confronted with serious difficulties, such as the integration of migrants coming from areas culturally opposed those of the host-country. We intend to contribute with our conclusion at understanding and explanation of the integratory function of mixed marriages in a specific society and also to elaborate a set of conclusions which might be useful for any society confronted with the challenges of multi-culturalism.
Given the situation we mention above we establish as a starting point of our research the period following to the II World War. All the data suggest that this is a turning point both for the demographic and social-political context. The union between Transylvanian and Romania changed the signification of majority and minority notions. As before 1918, Romanians were the most numerous inhabitants of Transylvania but they were involved in the Romanian administration since the Hungarian minority had loose the political and administrative monopole and also its privileged statute. The research will cover a period that lasts until today, and this will allow a comprehensive and detailed study of mixed marriages, able to provide firm conclusions.
Considering the profoundness which we intent to analyze the mixed marriages, the period (1918 to nowadays) as well as the historical past of the period of reference our proposal has a strong multidisciplinary character, requiring the combination of the historical, demographical and sociological methods. The objective of this project is the reconstruction of perceptions about mixed marriages, through generation. We will start from a detailed analyse of the statistical background and the description of the historical past of the mixed marriages and then we shall focus on case history of families as specific method for the project. Our goal is to give an answer for the question like:
- How did the inhabitants of Transylvania look the issue of mixed marriages in the past centuries and how do they look it nowadays?
-Which were the determinant factors of mixed marriages in Transylvania, considering the different social and historical contexts?
- Is the mixed marriages an indicator of social cohesion?
© 2011 by Luminita Dumanescu
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