Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies

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Research Agenda, l-r: SFB 1604, fizkes/, SFB 1604

Research Agenda

The Collaborative Research Centre SFB 1604 aims to change the way we look at migration. It assumes that migration is the product of a societal production process, which in turn fundamentally changes societies. Using concrete empirical constellations, the CRC investigates how individual, collective and institutional actors in different contexts practice, process and charge migration with meaning. This production of migration is understood as a dynamic negotiation: In a contested process marked by power asymmetries, migration is (de)thematised, (de)problematised, and linked to other societal developments. By this, the production of migration not only creates, stabilises or changes physical movements of people, but also social orders and knowledge systems.

Research Questions

1) How and with which meanings is migration produced? Who is involved in which ways and with which interests, resources, instruments and practices?

2) How and why does the societal approach to migration change?

3) How does the production of migration influence perceptions? And what consequences does it have for social structures and processes of societal change?

Media of the production of migration (SFB 1604)

By examining how migration is conceived, observed and attributed with meaning, and how in this process societal structures of migration are (re-)produced, the SFB conducts migration research as an approach to the study of society. Research and academia are involved in the production of migration, too, and they thus also become an object of study. The long-term goal of the Collaborative Research Centre is therefore to develop a reflexive theory of the social production of migration.

The production of migration and its meanings is based on categorisations of people, groups and practices. These are condensed into social figures, which in turn can influence processes of negotiation. Project Group A of the SFB is therefore dedicated to the figures of migration and their emergence, reproduction and effectiveness – both on individual and societal levels. The production of migration also requires specific infrastructures that create or restrict options for mobility and belonging. These infrastructures and the actors associated with them are the subject of Project Group B. Moreover, migratory movements always have a spatial dimension. The production of migration, too, creates and uses spaces and spatial imaginations. Project Group C therefore focuses on the spaces of migration. In the SFB, figures, infrastructures and spaces are understood as central media of the production of migration.

In order to promote and coordinate the joint development of theory and methodology, the CRC is setting up the ›Reflexivity Lab‹, which offers various workshops and ›experimental spaces‹ and represents the central location for cross-project collaboration. By setting up living labs in a museum, the CRC is transferring perspectives of reflexive migration research into non-university knowledge production. It experiments with dialogic, participative and intervening formats. At the same time, the Transfer Project is intended to gain additional data and insights into the production of migration-related meanings. The Integrated Research Training Group (IRTG) supports the CRC's doctoral researchers. It ensures broad interdisciplinary research support and prepares PhD students in the best possible way for various academic and non-scientific career paths.

Disciplines involved

Educational Science | Geography | History | Political Science | Social Psychology |
Law | Sociology of Religion | Sociology | Linguistics