Andrea Querfurt (née Kirschner)


On the trace of Integration Pilots. Self-Making in Migration's Spaces of Encounter


In recent years, a booming market for the training and (further) education of people volunteering to be integration-companions for migrants emerged. The volunteers are primarily migrants themselves, who are addressed in the framework of such local integration projects, since they are considered as particularly suited to function as bridge-builders, cultural interpreters and mediators between cultures as well as between different social portions due to their experiences, intercultural competences and their specific “biographic resources”.

What kind of migrant mediator-subject emerges here? How is it made and how does it make itself at the same time? What are the tensions it has to cope with and what are the (new) scopes of action it can access? The project will try to answer these questions in a praxelogically oriented perspective. The migration spaces of encounter will be analysed in three dimensions, focused and conceptualised by means of combining Foucault's dispositif-approach and Schatzki’s site ontology approach.

In a first dimension, migration's spaces of encounter have to be understood as physical spaces, in which the actors are somatically co-present. In a second dimension, they are liminal spaces, within which differentiations between the self and the other are generated through different modes of performative generation and negotiation. In a third dimension, migration's spaces of encounter will be conceptualised as relational spaces of power, within which reciprocal positionings of subjects take place, upon which potentials of acquisition and usage of cultural, social, economic and biographical capital depend.

From a research perspective on practices of subjectivation, understood as bound to historical, social and cultural contexts, taking place quasi stubbornly in discursive and somatic practices, this study can neither investigate normatively-sociotechnologically motivated “optimal” conditions, drawbacks or criteria of a “successful” integration, nor give an estimation on the success or failure of specific integration(-accompanying) projects. The project rather intends to shed light on the ways in which migrants deal with such political programs and daily 'integration-practices', which confront them with certain offers for and expectations of subjectivation, the ways in which they mutually make each other to “mediators” and (integrated/not integrated) “migrants” and which subject-positions are unclosed or denied.

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