Hülya's Migration to Germany as Self-Sacrifice Undergone and Suffered in Love for her Parents, and her Later Biographical Individualisation. Biographical Problems and Biographical Work of Marginalisation and Individualisation of a Young Turkish Woman in Germany

  • Fritz Schütze Otto-von-Guericke-Universität
Keywords: trajectory of work migration, compulsory labour of work migrants, exploitation of work, migrants, self-alienation of work migrants, female emancipation and individualisation, pre-arranged marriage, parent child relation in work migrant trajectories, family trap connected to work migration of children, structural description in biography analysis, structural processes of biography, biographical action scheme, biographical metamorphosis, biographical trajectory of suffering, fading out of one's awareness


This article is divided in two parts; the second part (consisting of Sections 3, 4 and 5) will be published in the next issue of FQS. After asking what is typical or general in the life history of Hülya as a migrant worker in Germany and what is exceptional or unique (Section 1) the biographical processes of her life history up to the most central episodes of her conventional and estranging pre-arranged marriage and her way out of it through divorce after having stayed in Germany for several years will be delineated (Section 2). Before reaching this turning point Hülya not only undergoes the "common" type trajectory of a migrant worker—the trajectory of being a cultural stranger, of being void of language, of being exploited by hardest sorts of work—, but, in addition, her personal biographical development is retarded by the exceptional, but probably not totally untypical experience of being trapped within a situation of compulsory labour (resembling slave labour). For a long time she also feels obliged to remain in her trajectory position of an isolated migrant worker, since originally she had mainly meant to go to Germany in order to support her poverty stricken family back in Turkey with her earnings. Partly based on the fear that she will get self-alienated and "petrified" like the older women with whom she dwells and works together Hülya accepts a pre-arranged marriage (probably mainly negotiated by her mother) as the only way out of her predicament. But willy-nilly Hülya must learn that she—already embarked on her way to an individualized and emancipated existence—cannot live in such a superimposed arrangement, and therefore she distances herself from her husband through the biographical escape action schemes first of returning to Germany alone and then of pushing ahead her divorce. Hülya's way of rendering her life history (which Section 3 will focus on) is quite straightforward in most parts of her narrative. But it is obvious that she is ashamed to tell about her estranging marriage and her disreputable divorce. Dealing with this emotionally difficult turning point in her life history Hülya tends to report in a quite laconic and evasive way. But in doing so she realizes that her story line would get implausible if she continued narrating like this. Therefore she inserts a number of background constructions and argumentative explanations in her laconic line of narration. Part of the article is focussed on this "disorderly" kind of rendering. Then the 4th part of the article resumes the reconstruction of the biographical processes of Hülya's life up to the "presence" of the interview situation in 1986. Here the focus is on (a) Hülya's medical problems seen as a typical transformation of the migrant worker's trajectory of exploitation and self-alienation and (b) her processes of learning and metamorphosis in reaching the present biographical and social state of a highly individualized and emancipated woman. Part of Hülya's URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0303232


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Author Biography

Fritz Schütze, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität
Fritz SCHÜTZE is a sociologist and works as a professor of sociology at the Department of Sociology of the Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg, Germany.