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FU-BEST 34: Migration: Dynamics and Controversies in Europe and Berlin

InstructorDuygu Gürsel
Credit Points6 ECTS / 3 U.S. credits


The European Union consists of pluralist nation-states. This is official policy up to the highest levels of the EU-bureaucracy, in which “any discrimination based on anyground such as sex, race, color, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language,religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority,property, birth, disability, age, or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.” Although thisis the norm, in the factual every-day power relations between state-actors, citizens and newcomers, diverse forms of discrimination are steadily reproduced. In this course, wewill encounter some of these differences between the normative and the factual as wepursue a series of learning objectives.

In the lecture part of each session, migration dynamics, discourses and policies in thewake of the 2015“refugee crisis” on the European, German, and local (Berlin) level willbe introduced. Then we will ground our questioning of the respective topics in content-related as well as theory-oriented texts, which provide us with alternative viewpoints.

Based on constructivist approaches drawn from sociology, cultural and socialanthropology and political science, we will question different forms of mobility, whilebeing aware of their historical contexts in the rise of the (European) nation-state. Wewill especially examine more closely the often highly emotionalized and too often simplistic public debates, which take place mostly around the categories of ethnicityand religion, inasmuch as people do not come only as ethnicized or religionizedsubjects: They come with their own agency, their genders, professions, political viewpoints, personal tastes, ethics and aesthetics, subcultures and complexworldviews. In other words, they come as individual persons – like anybody else.Thereby we will look at diverse forms of multimedia-based representations of the highlycomplex and multidimensional dynamics and controversies involved in migration processes. Here we will also think about the consequences of the contemporarypolitics of fear and identity especially in populist discourse that are played out alongthe lines of the production and reproduction of fixed cultural boundaries.