Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld

Institute for
Interdisciplinary Research
on Conflict and Violence

Intergroup Conflicts in Small Towns with minorities stemming from Eastern Europe

Short description
Because the academic discourse about problems surrounding the integration of German neglected the context of community, it was unable to account adequately for specific conflicts in immigrant neighbourhoods and their consequences for urban societies. The purpose of this research project was to help fill that gap by studying change and continuity in the relationships of conflict and power (figurations) between the established and immigrant groups (German immigrants from Eastern Europe and immigrants of Turkish extraction) in the urban community and to shed light on how the processes of integration and conflict rooted in local historical and biographical learning processes vary from one community to another.

The research project involved a community-based figuration analysis, a proven method that is geared specifically towards the study of inter-group relationships and conflicts in urban communities. This study builds on the approach of Norbert Elias and John Scotson’s famous community study “The Established and the Outsiders” and expands it in three respects in order to take into account current developments in the sociology of conflict and integration and to do justice to the specific subject of the research.

The first dimension to be added was a comparative one. The conflict and power figurations in not one, but three urban communities were subjected to a comparative study. Secondly, the project focused not on stable figurations, but ones that had become dynamic as a result of integration and conflict processes. Thirdly, the research concept went beyond the conventional bounds of empirical social research in that it offered the participating researchers an opportunity to exercise an influence on the urban societies in the study even before the research activities had been completed.

On the results of the project, see:
Jörg Hüttermann. 2010: Entzündungsfähige Konfliktkonstellationen: Eskalations- und Integrationspotenziale in Kleinstädten der Einwanderungsgesellschaft. (Mit einem Beitrag von Alexander Mewes. Weinheim and Munich: Juventa.
Herr Dr. Jörg Hüttermann
Cooperation partners
Institut für interdisziplinäre Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF