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DFG Project "Experiencing Ethnoracial Exclusion": How Everyday Racism Feels

DFG Project "Experiencing Ethnoracial Exclusion": How Everyday Racism Feels

The Affective and Emotional Dimensions and Dynamics of (Non-) Belonging and Experiencing Ethnoracial Exclusion—A Comparison of Three Groups of Germans of Migrant Background

Cultural sociologists and scholars of migration have increasingly focused on immigrants’ experiences of ethnoracial exclusion such as stigmatization and (perceived) discrimination. Firstly, they have pointed out the consequences of experiences of exclusion (such as reactive identity or a lower level of identification with the host country); secondly, they have described the spectrum and variety of strategies that excluded groups may use; and, thirdly, they have started to compare across country contexts. However, there remain at least three significant gaps in the literature. This project addresses these three gaps by asking the following research questions: What are the affective and emotional dimensions of individuals’ and groups’ perceptions of symbolic boundaries and, especially, their experiences of stigmatization and (perceived) discrimination? How do individuals’ and groups’ perceptions of symbolic boundaries and their experiences of exclusion relate to their feelings of (non-)belonging to different entities? How can we explain differences between various groups and sub-groups with regard to their perceptions of symbolic boundaries, their experiences of exclusion, their responses to these experiences, and their feelings of (non-)belonging? To answer these questions, the project draws on a range of theoretical concepts such as boundaries, stigmatization and (perceived) discrimination, and (non-) belonging but also affect and emotion, emotion repertoires, emotional reflexivity, emotion work and feeling rules. Empirically, the project focuses on Germany as a case and collects data through focus group interviews, individual interviews, and audio diaries with three ‘groups’ of German citizens: (1) Germans of Turkish origin, (2) Germans of Polish origin, and (3) Black Germans. Data will be generated on the individual, the interactional, and the group level. The project’s findings will advance international academic debates in cultural sociology and migration studies in three ways. First, the project will introduce an emotional sociological perspective to how experiences of exclusion are currently debated by systematically accounting for the affective and emotional dynamics implicated in how individuals and groups experience symbolic boundaries and exclusion. This perspective is highly relevant since it enables us to get a handle on what is at the very core of experiences of exclusion—affects and emotions. Second, the project will push forward the debate on the significance of perceived discrimination and stigmatization for immigrant integration by analysing the variety of ways by which symbolic boundaries, experiences of exclusion, and feelings of (non-)belonging may be intertwined. Third, the project will advance our understanding of the various factors that influence (sub-)groups making sense of symbolic boundaries and experiences of exclusion, their repertoires of responses to these experiences, and their feelings of (non-)belonging.

Principal Investigator(s) at the University Dr. Eunike Piwoni (Philosophische Fakultät)
Project period 01.04.2022 - 31.03.2025
Verlängert bis: 31.03.2026
Source of funding
DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Funding notice

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding the project "Experiencing Ethnoracial Exclusion" (project number: 467462804) for a period of three years with 410,503 euros.

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