Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld

Institute for
Interdisciplinary Research
on Conflict and Violence

Social relations and conflict potentials in the context of experiences of denied participation and appreciation of youth with and without a migrant background

Short description
The research project focuses on two topics:
1)social conditions of living of youth with and without a migrant background and
2)the effects of the life situation on attitudes towards one’s own social group members and towards other social group members

Concerning the first topic we will compare the objective chances for a successful school career and the possibilities to get a good job after completing school education of youth with Turkish, Arab and German ethnic background. Also we will compare the subjective perception and evaluation of those chances between these three groups. In particular, we will investigate to what extent the juveniles with and without a migrant background are affected by social disintegration. Thus, one purpose of the study is to find out, to what extent adolescents have been denied appreciation, participation-possibilities and access to important societal sub-systems like education or job market. We emphasize hereby that ethnical Germans may be equally affected by social disintegration as migrants may be. Also, we differentiate between objective social disintegration and subjectively perceived disintegration risks and fears. To conclude, it is one goal of the research project to detect and comprehend experiences of marginalization, structural and interpersonal discrimination, repudiation and stigmatization by the majority population because of ethnical, religious and / or social background.

With regard to the second topic we want to research the consequences of such experiences. On the one side it will be investigated, whether experiences of denied participation and appreciation contribute to the withdrawal of youngsters into their own ethnic, religious or social group in order to secure their social identity. On the other side we will analyze to what extent those experiences stir up social conflicts and increase the adoption of prejudices against other groups. Other social factors like social milieu, political socialisation or the usage of transnational media and their effects on attitudes towards other ethnic, religious and social groups will be included in the analysis. We consider it important to know more about such prejudices and their causes, because only on that informed base it is possible to take up effective measures to prevent potential social conflicts.

In public political debates the extent of prejudices and social conflicts is very often exaggerated, while the extent of positive attitudes and cooperation is usually underestimated. In our project we want first to come to a realistic assessment of social relations and conflict potentials. Secondly, the causes of social conflicts, in which juveniles are involved, shall be researched. Equally we are dedicated to analyse the causes for positive social and intercultural relations. Our assumptions is that attitudes are anchored within the particular social conditions of living and within biographic experiences and that they are strongly dependent on juveniles’ evaluation of their chances to participate in the society and to develop further personally.

The project consists of two phases. First, we will have interviews and group discussions with adolescents with Turkish and Arab background in four German cities. In the second phase surveys will be conducted in those four cities, using a printed standardized questionnaire. We will survey the juveniles within school classes (10th and 11th grade) in all types of school, including professional schools. The survey will enable us to compare the condition of living and attitude patterns of youth with different background (German, Turkish, Arab, other migrant backgrounds).
Herr apl. Professor Jürgen Mansel
Frau M.A. Viktoria Spaiser
Cooperation partners
Institut für interdisziplinäre Konflikt- und Gewaltforschung
Bundesministerium für Familien, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend