Migration and Mobility
Migration and mobility have become central themes for how societies understand themselves. The question of what distinguishes ‘migration’ from ‘flight’ and ‘mobility,’ and which people are categorized as ‘wanted’ or ‘unwanted’ or as ‘foreign’ or ‘belonging,’ has been the subject of fierce debates, especially in contemporary history. At issue was and is the question of which criteria establish belonging, inclusion, and exclusion, and thus what should constitute European societies at their core.
This field of research asks which parameters have shaped how societies and politicians deal with, understand, and practice migration in contemporary history. We focus on processes of ethnicization and discrimination against people and groups as the ‘migrant Other,’ on their identification, categorization, and exclusion, on the forms and scope of migrant agency, on the infrastructural embeddedness of migration, and on how these attributions and practices have changed over time. These projects apply methodologies from the fields of social and conceptual history and the history of knowledge.