Different Kinds of Artifacts—Different Ways of Self-Presenting. Turkish Migrants in the 1960s and 1970s in Germany as Transmigrants


  • Meltem Karadag University of Gaziantep
  • Alexandra König Universität Duisburg-Essen




transnational families, self-presentation, Turkey, Gastarbeiter, artifacts, data archive, photographs, interview


This article is based on a Turkish-German cooperation project that focused on the migration of workers from Turkey to Germany during the 1960s and 1970s. The research interest has been to look at the ways of self-presenting and self-positioning of the so called Gastarbeiter [guest workers]. We approached this phenomenon by looking at the Gastarbeiter from a transnational perspective. Our argumentation is based on artifacts of two cases of married couples leaving their children with the grandparents in Turkey. For both cases, we analyzed different kinds of material from an archive, which included: 1. pictures from the 1960s and 1970s made in Germany, 2. an audio cassette from the 1970s recorded by the grandparents presenting the life of the child in Turkey, and 3. a semi-structured interview conducted by the archival personnel with a family member, approximately 20 years after migration. These two cases and the related artifacts allowed us to investigate cross-border as well as local practices with regard to ways of self-presenting and self-positioning. Furthermore, on the basis of this explorative study, methodological questions are discussed which concern both the use of different data formats and the relevance of working in a binational team, more precisely, in a transnational project.


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Author Biographies

Meltem Karadag, University of Gaziantep

Meltem KARADAG is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Gaziantep. She is interested in ethnographic research and oral history techniques focusing on economic and cultural inequalities within everyday practices and morals.

Alexandra König, Universität Duisburg-Essen

Alexandra KÖNIG is professor of socialization at the University of Duisburg-Essen. The main emphasis of her work is on transnational families, youth and childhood.




How to Cite

Karadag, M., & König, A. (2019). Different Kinds of Artifacts—Different Ways of Self-Presenting. Turkish Migrants in the 1960s and 1970s in Germany as Transmigrants. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 20(1). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-20.1.2941



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