Institutional categorisation based on multilingual interactions in Brussels-based marriage fraud investigations. A genre-theoretical study of emergent discursive practices

01 November 2017 → 31 October 2020
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Law
marriage fraud
Project description

This project aims to examine the linguistic and discursive practices in marriage fraud investigations in different municipalities in Brussels where a complex chain of interviews and reports results in the categorisation of a marriage applicants as "genuine" or "fraudulent". Bureaucratic interviews in marriage fraud investigations are characterised by a multitude of questions and the answers given by the applicants are decisive in the categorisation process. The descriptive objective of this project pertains to (a) the interactional dynamics of the interview and the way in which questions are posed and answers given, (b) how these question sequences are (un)succesfully mediated linguistically (by interpreters or lingua francas), and (c) how the elicited answers are (in)accurately noted down by the interviewer and how the categorising decision is based on this report. The theoretical objective of this project aims to examine how procedural and discursive differences in
the ways in which these investigations are conducted in different municipalities influence the notion of this investigation as having a generic format. The project’s final, applied objective is to increase the awareness of the civil servants and decision-makers involved about the complexities
of written/spoken language use and multilingualism in these investigations.