Ongoing research projects

Change and dynamics of family intergenerational relationships in the context of flight and asylum (DyFam)

DFG Project 2020/2024:

Research team: Prof. Dr. Westphal, Manuela; Korn, Franziska; Dr. Li-Gottwald, Jiayin; Aden, Samia

With the increase in refugee immigration, research and practice initially focused on the pressure to take action for the reception and integration of refugees. At the same time, family relationships and new questions for upbringing, education and socialization in families have so far been ignored. Both migration and family research lack findings on family generational relationships, family and parenting concepts and parenting practices in the context of flight and asylum. However, findings on (transnational) family upbringing in other migration groups in Germany can only be transferred to refugee families to a very limited extent due to, among other things, dominant residence regulations, but also a post-colonial framing and racism. The project focuses on family and parenting in the context of flight and asylum in Germany using the example of refugee families (members) from Somalia. It examines with whom and how family relationships and parenting practices are established, reorganized and negotiated. The focus of the research interest is on the changes triggered by refugee and asylum procedures and the dynamics of family intergenerational relationships at different levels of family production. Following a theory of family education, the interdependency structure between extended intergenerational relationships, refugee/asylum experiences and transnationality for family education will be analysed and systematized. For this purpose, the heuristics of doing and displaying family will be used. (1) family structures and the nature and density of extended family relationships and practices, (2) family images and symbolic representations of family and upbringing, (3) transnational family interactions and (4) reflections on family upbringing are recorded. A mixed-methods design is planned for the research. Different methods will be used step by step and in combination with each other, reflected upon in terms of research ethics and integrated into a joint reconstructive evaluation strategy. The aim of the project is to contribute to the further development and systematization of a theory of family education in order to overcome the previous narrow and normative approach to family structures and family education and to reflect the reality of migration society in theory and empiricism. By questioning Western-normative concepts of family upbringing and stereotypical generalizations about "the refugee" or the "African family" and by understanding resources and burdens in transnational, extended generational relationships more precisely, the project also aims to contribute to overcoming methodological nationalism in practical contexts.

Professional and civic social work in the migration society (ProZis)

Collaborative project: In cooperation with Fulda University of Applied Sciences, Department of Social Work. Prof. Dr. habil. Monika Alisch

Funded by: Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Duration of the project: 1.4.18 -30.9.21

Research assistants: Anke Freuwört, M.A.; Jens Vogler, M.A.

Improving the participation of people with a migration/refugee background and disabilities in Hesse (MiBeH)

The scientific discourse and practical developments on the consequences of migration (flight) on the one hand and disability on the other for social and societal participation have so far hardly recognized each other and sought references to each other. Accordingly, the qualitative and quantitative data situation on people with disabilities and migration and refugee backgrounds is extremely unsatisfactory at both federal and state level. It is assumed that there is a high number of unreported cases of people who have some form of disability but do not make use of treatment and support services for various reasons. Against this background, the project will make a contribution to improving the data situation in Hesse on the basis of qualitative and quantitative surveys, identify barriers to accessing and using existing help and support facilities and care services and derive recommendations for measures to promote the participation of this group of people. In this way, the project aims to make a future-oriented contribution to the intercultural opening of social services and organizations in Hesse in order to contribute to improved participation and inclusion of people with a migration background and disabilities.

Duration of the project: 1.4.17 - 31.3.21

The project is being carried out in cooperation with the Hessian Ministry for Social Affairs and Integration and the Hessian State Government Commissioner for People with Disabilities.

Head: Prof. Dr. Manuela Westphal

Research assistant: Olezia Boga, M.A.

Completed research projects

  • Early childhood, development and education from the perspective of parents in and from Turkey - An intra- and intercultural comparative study of parental ideas on the nature and development of the child as well as its education and support

  • Professional success biographies of migrant women (together with B. Behrensen) Study commissioned by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. (Duration 2007-2008).

  • Gender training for school pupils
    Accompanying scientific research for the pilot project "Gender training for school pupils" of the Protestant youth education center, Nordwalde (NRW) (duration 2005-2008).

  • Return counseling and return support in pedagogical work in the field of migration, asylum and human trafficking (together with B. Behrensen).
    Expertise as part of the research study of the European Migration Network (2006).

  • "Self-help, labor market access and health of asylum seekers" (together with B. Behrensen).
    Analysis of employability and barriers to employment of asylum seekers (ABA). As part of an EU Community Initiative EQUAL development partnership .
    together with Dr. Birgit Behrensen (SAGA) (duration 2005-2007).

  • Orientation courses for (newly arrived) migrants from Turkey
    Evaluation study commissioned by the NRW State Reception Center Unna-Massen (duration 2005-2006).

  • Gender mainstreaming of social orientation courses
    Evaluation study as part of the implementation of gender mainstreaming in North Rhine-Westphalia on behalf of the Unna-Massen state reception center (duration 2004-2005).

  • Family orientation, women's (men's) image, educational and occupational motivation of immigrant and West German women and families in an intercultural comparative perspective (FAFRA) (Director: Prof. Leonie Herwartz-Emden, together with Dr. Sedef Gümen).
    Basic research as part of the DFG priority program Consequences of labour migration for education and upbringing (FABER) (1991-1997).

  • Gender, occupation and education under immigration conditions. A comparative study using the example of the occupational integration of ethnic German immigrant women.
    FAFRA Subproject Occupational and Educational Motivation, dissertation project (1992-1996).

  • Fatherhood and education in an intercultural comparative perspective
    FAFRA sub-project Fatherhood and education.

  • Acculturation strategies in generational and gender comparison in immigrant families (together with L. Herwartz-Emden)
    Expertise commissioned by the 6th Family Report of the German Federal Government (1997-1998).