“We agree more than disagree”: Exploring conflict in Alevi-Sunni intermarriages in Turkey


International Journal of Intercultural Relations, vol.96, 2023 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 96
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.ijintrel.2023.101863
  • Journal Name: International Journal of Intercultural Relations
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, ASSIA, Periodicals Index Online, ABI/INFORM, CINAHL, Communication & Mass Media Index, Communication Abstracts, Criminal Justice Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Political Science Complete, Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Keywords: Aleviness, Conflict resolution, Cultural studies, Intermarriage, Sunniness
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


The present study aimed to understand how cultural differences affect conflict experiences in intermarriages, uncover any conflict resolution patterns used by couples in these marriages, and explore any protective dynamics that prevent cultural differences-related conflicts in Turkey. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 43 Alevi-Sunni intermarried individuals (18 couples and 7 individuals). Data were analyzed using content analysis. Most couples did not identify cultural differences as causing crucial marital problems, whereas only a minority of them faced some further challenges and conflicts due to differences in cultural orientations. Disapproval of the other's traditions/values, prejudices and discrimination, and intergroup competition were emerged themes of cultural differences-related conflicts. Four conflict resolution strategies were identified: sensitivity to one another's cultural differences, avoidance, building a “we” as a couple, and pressure to assimilate. In terms of the protective dynamics preventing cultural differences-related conflicts, secularization, universal/humanistic values, integration, and common political view emerged as themes. This study provides a step toward understanding conflict experiences in intermarriages in Turkey. Furthermore, our findings add to a growing body of literature on positive couple functioning in intermarriages.