Migration and Questions of Belonging. Migrants in Germany and Florida


  • Gabriele Rosenthal Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
  • Michaela Köttig Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main




biographical case reconstructions, constructions of belongings, ethnicity, ethnicization


This essay describes the theoretical and methodological approach behind the empirical case reconstructions that are discussed in the following articles. The essay also introduces a social constructivist and biographical theoretical concept of the creation and transformation of the constructions of collective belonging before going on to develop the methodological implications. On the basis of empirical findings, this essay will discuss the enormous impact that the interaction between family stories and life stories with the historical and cultural framework has on the construction and reinterpretation of collective belongings. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0903191


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Author Biographies

Gabriele Rosenthal, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

Gabriele ROSENTHAL is Professor for Qualitative Methods at the Center of Methods in Social Sciences at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen, Germany. She is currently the president of the Research Committee: "Biography and Society" (RC 38) within the International Sociological Association (ISA). Previous positions included a professorship for general sociology at the University of Cologne and a professorship for social therapy at the University of Kassel. Since 1989 she has taught qualitative methods and biographical research as a guest lecturer at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel. Her major research focus is on the intergenerational impact of the collective and familial history on biographical structures and actional patterns of individuals and family systems. Her current research deals with migration, ethnicity and ethnopolitical conflicts. She teaches qualitative methods, biographical research, family sociology, and general sociology and is the author and editor of numerous books including The Holocaust in Three Generations (1998) and Interpretative Sozialforschung (2005). Her recent articles have been in the field of migration and of methods (video-analysis or biographical research in interrelation to collective history).

Michaela Köttig, Fachhochschule Frankfurt am Main

Dr. Michaela KÖTTIG, born 1965, is currently a research assistant at the Center of Methods in Social Sciences at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen. She studied at the University of Kassel and was employed at the University of Cologne. Her research concerns female right-wing extremism in Germany. She also focuses on political socialization, family sociology, and family history as well as the influence of these factors on peer interactions. Furthermore, she is interested in young people’s transition from school to work and the construction of belongings in transnational families. Here, she focuses on the constellations of families with very different political opinions and patterns of actions. In her research, she employs biographical, intergenerational, and ethnographical methods and has written about the productive transfer of interpretative research methods to different fields of social work. As of 2003, she has been secretary of the Research Committee on Biography and Society (RC 38) at the International Sociological Association (ISA). In October, she will begin a professorship at the University of Applied Sciences at Frankfurt/Main for interviewing techniques, communication, and conflict management.




How to Cite

Rosenthal, G., & Köttig, M. (2009). Migration and Questions of Belonging. Migrants in Germany and Florida. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-10.3.1372

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