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Abstracts of dissertations

Love Ain't Got No Color? Attitudes Toward Interracial Marriage in Sweden
Osanami Törngren, Sayaka

Björn Fryklund
Department of Social and Welfare Studies
Linköping University

Year of completion 2011

language of dissertation English

  • interracial marriage
  • attitudes
  • colorblindness
  • mixed methods
Areas of Research
  • Racism, Nationalism and Ethnic Relations
  • Migration
This dissertation focuses on the geographical area of Malmö, the third largest city in Sweden, and examines the majority society’s opinions and attitudes toward interracial dating, marriage and childbearing. The dissertation is driven by two theoretical frames: the theory of race as ideas constructed through the perception of visible differences and the theory of prejudice and stereotypes. Mixed methods have been chosen as a means of exploring people’s attitudes toward interracial relationships. Quantitative data was collected by means of an attitude survey and the qualitative data was collected by means of follow-up interviews with some of the respondents who participated in the survey. Through quantitative and qualitative inquiries, the pattern of attitudes and the correlation of attitudes and individuals’ social characteristics, as well as the underlying ideas and thoughts, were explored. This study intends to achieve an understanding of people’s expressed ideas and attitudes, rather than the changes and development of individual attitudes and feelings.

The study shows that although their attitudes vary depending on the different groups in question, the majority of the respondents and interviewees could imagine getting involved in interrelationships and would not react negatively if a family member got involved in such a relationship. The quantitative results address the importance of intimate contacts--having friends of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds--for having more positive attitudes toward interracial dating, marriage and childbearing. Age, gender, education and the place of upbringing also affects people’s attitudes. The qualitative inquiry probes the reasoning behind the survey results and points to the complicated relations between individual attitudes and the sense of group position. The interviewees’ words depict colorblind ways of talking about attitudes toward interracial marriage and different groups. Ideas of race emerge in this colorblind reasoning and the role of visible difference is highlighted both through the quantitative and qualitative inquiries.