[Event] BelMix Seminar Series-2023(II): 2

“Exploring Intimate Relations: A Transnational Perspective on French-men and Romanian-women Couples, and a Mixedness Lens on Intercultural Partnerships in Estonia”

French men in French-Romanian couples: an intersectional perspective on transnational conjugalities

by Eva Renaudeau (PhD researcher, Cermes3, EHESS, France)

Impact of identity complexity on parental integration and children’s ethnic identity representations: a qualitative study on binational (Estonian-foreign) parents in Estonia

by Gabriel Alberto Ceballos Rodríguez (PhD researcher, Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu, Estonia)

Date: Monday 6 November 2023, 11am – 1pm (Brussels Time).

Venue: Room S.15.215 (Building S, 15th floor)

Campus Solbosch, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

Avenue Jeanne 44, Bruxelles 1050.

AND also live streamed online via Zoom.


French men in French-Romanian couples: an intersectional perspective on transnational conjugalities

French migrants in Romania can be categorized as lifestyle migrants or privileged migrants. For most of them, geographical mobility is synonymous with social mobility and access to a better way of life. While social class, nationality, or race have been commonly used to analyze this type of migration, gender analysis has yet to be developed. The presence of couples in Romania that consist of a French man and a Romanian woman is prevalent among French-Romanian couples. The unequal distribution of couples reveals the gender-based differences in migration trajectories and experiences between French men and women. This presentation aims to question what defines these experiences and what they reveal about privilege in migration through the narratives and discourses of these migrants. In particular, I propose to examine how social mobility resulting from migration induces the experience of gender mobility for French men. At first, we will take a look at the accounts of these men regarding French-Romanian couples and their own experiences. Then, we will examine how this context shapes the experience of hegemonic masculinity and how it connects to other social relationships. This work is based on a nine-month ethnographic study of the French community in Romania.

Impact of identity complexity on parental integration and children’s ethnic identity representations: a qualitative study on binational (Estonian-foreign) parents in Estonia

Studies indicate that individuals experience and report their belonging to different social identities (including ethnic identity) with different levels of complexity (Brewer & Pierce, 2005; Knifsend & Juvonen, 2014; Miller et al., 2009; Roccas & Brewer, 2002). As a result of this, individuals with low levels of identity complexity recognise high overlaps between the different social groups to which they (or other people) ascribe. They also tend to have less tolerance to ambiguity and struggle to accept that ingroup members might not always share the same overlapping characteristics, e.g. I’m (only) X and not Y, all Ys are Zs. Conversely, people with higher levels of identity complexity express more elaborated representations about how they (and other people) associate with the different groups to which they ascribe, e.g., I am X and Y, and sometimes I can also be Z. 

This article presents a qualitative study conducted among parents of binational (Estonian-foreign) children in Estonia. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted among forty parents from this group to identify associations between their high / low identity complexity and: i) their feelings of their own and their families’ structural, cultural, and social integration (Berry, 2007) and, ii) the way in which they represent their children’s ethnic identity(ies), e.g., predominantly Estonian, fifty-fifty, global citizen, etc. Results indicate that structural, cultural, and social integration outcomes align differently, depending on parent’s identity complexity levels. In addition, parents’ identity complexity correlates with parents’ passive or active attitudes towards transmitting components of their own ethnic identity to their children and the development of cultural frame switching skills, which is reflected in how they represent their children’s ethnic identity(ies). Finally, although the term global citizen was used by some parents to describe their own and their children’s identity, results indicate that they give this term different meanings depending on their high or low identity complexity. 

To our knowledge, this is one of the first studies that analyses connections between identity complexity, integration outcomes and ethnic identity representations among parents of binational children and contributes to the better understanding of binational families.


Eva Renaudeau received her master’s degree from the EHESS in Paris, where her previous research focused on access to health care for Romanian Roma living in Parisian slums, from an intersectional perspective. She then underwent a paradigm shift, starting her PhD program jointly at Cermes3 and EHESS. Her doctoral research is dedicated to unraveling the intricacies of health experiences and practices among French migrants in Romania. At the same time, Eva is actively involved in multiple research activities, such as the coordination of the “privileged migrations” axis at the French Collaborative Institute on Migration (IC Migration), where she is a fellow.

Gabriel Ceballos was born in Mexico City and is a researcher on ethnic identity and integration among binational families in Estonia at the Institute of Social Studies at Tartu University, Estonia. His inspiration is his own family along with the appetite to learn from the experiences of others on how to raise mixed-background children in a context where diversity is a relatively new trait. In addition to his research work, Gabriel is an international higher education consultant for a portfolio of universities in different parts of the world and has businesses in different sectors. He has a wealth of international experience and has worked in the past for organisations such as the British Council, the Foreign and Commonweath Office, the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Mexico City’s Ministry of Economy.

Cite this blog post
Cai Chen (2023, October 30). [Event] BelMix Seminar Series-2023(II): 2. BelMix. Retrieved May 28, 2024, from https://doi.org/10.58079/lwwk