Universität Bielefeld

© Universität Bielefeld


Teaching Profile

The Research Unit Transnationalization and Development teaches in the BA Sociology Fachmodul 'Transnationalization, Migration and Development' (30-M25) and in the MA Sociology profile 'Sociology of the global world'. The research teaching classes in the MA Sociology constitute a central part of our teaching. For the doctoral program at the graduate school BGHS, our Research Unit regularly offers courses for doctoral students, research classes and research colloquia.

In the BA module 30-M25, the Research Unit continuously offers courses on 'Global South' and 'Migration': Teaching in these areas is organized and recommended to students in the following order: In the winter term, introductory courses on sociology of development and development cooperation (Global South I) and on global mobility (Migration I) are offered. In the summer term, advanced courses in both areas are offered. This includes courses on specific aspects in sociology of development and development cooperation (Global South II) as well as forced migration and integration (Migration II).

Besides this, further courses in the area of sociology of migration and social anthropology are offered for BA students.

In addition to the regular BA und MA seminars we organize colloquia and international summer schools for BA, MA and doctoral students. Furthermore, through a number of Erasmus Agreements we cooperate with other European universities who offer a comparable study area or offer a program that is as broad as that of our Faculty.


At least half of our courses are taught in English language. You can find a list of our recent course offer in the electronic course catalogue (eKVV) of the Faculty for Sociology.

BA and MA


Our module ?Transnationalisation and Development? of the BA Sociology program is concerned with the processes of the formation of cross-border interaction and structures, and, with how these transnational processes effect the prevailing regional and local structures. Our starting point is the concept of transnational social spaces and fields within which groups are constituted through processes of boundary making, which work along heterogeneities like class, gender, ethnicity, age and religion. From a transnational perspective the focus lays on formation and changes of cross-border social configurations such as families, networks, organizations and the interconnected issues of political power, cultural diversity and social inequality. Themes of transnational range, i.e. migration, social policy, development cooperation, climate change and the connected challenges of citizenship form additional topics of our courses.

Further information about the module is available here (German only).



The aim of the module ?Sociology of the Global World? in the MA program is to introduce students to a sociological understanding of processes of socialization and communitisation beyond ?methodological nationalism?. By looking at these processes in terms of social, cultural, territorial, and political boundary making, the module offers two approaches: First, the perspective of transnationalization which focusses on interconnections of institutions and actors between, below and above national states. Attention is given to the consequences of unbound social worlds and societal institutions and to the meanings of the construction of new formations (e.g. diasporas, global regimes, cross-border networks and social movements), and of the changes that occur in relation to existing structures and institutions (e.g. regionalism, statehood, citizenship and governance). Second, from the perspective of world society theory questions concerning the patterns of the formation of structures as well as of conflict potential are relevant topics as these result from processes of differentiation as well as from incompatibilities between the different political, legal, economic, and other structures of global functional relationships. Furthermore, the historical conditions that led to the development and implementation of specific forms of order ? especially the modern national state ? will be discussed.

Further information about the module is available here (German only).

Research Seminars
Summer Schools
Erasmus Agreements

The two working groups of the Research Unit Transnationalization and Development have different Erasmus+ Agreements according to the thematic research areas. Studies at these universities are recommended to students with a focus on ?Sociology of the Global World? in the MA Sociology program and in the Fachmodul "Transnationalisierung, Migration und Entwicklung? in the BA Sociology program. Students with other focus areas are also welcome to apply for the scholarships but should explain their specific interests.

Partner universities of the Research Unit are:


Research Seminars

Dissent over Refugees

Dissent over Refugees

SS 2017

Dozent: Prof. Thomas Faist

In this research training (Lehrforschung) we analyse how core European values and norms are contested, re-framed and re-affirmed by conflicting positions on refugee questions. Across Europe, discussions have taken center stage on the support citizens provided to newly arrived refugees and the fines citizens were given for doing so. Take, for example, Germany, Austria and Denmark in 2015. Also, public controversies surrounded alleged sexual abuse of European women by asylum seekers; for example, in Cologne, December 2015. Last but not least, a series of intensively debated policy measures taken to prevent forced migrants from applying for asylum in Europe have stood at the center of attention. Of prime importance have been the EU-Turkey deal and the relocation of refugees from and to Greece. One of the main dividing lines in public controversies has been between solidarity with refugees vs. protection of cultural homogeneity in the countries of reception. There have been views expressing civic solidarity as European citizens have welcomed refugees by engaging in volunteering action and participating in public demonstrations. By contrast, there have been law and order positions and also right-wing populist which have challenged incumbent political parties and governments. These processes have been accompanied by debates over the fear of social downward mobility and the fallout of neo-liberal policies on social inequalities and cultural identities. This situation highlights debates over core European and constitutional values, such as personal autonomy, gender equality, equality before the law and human dignity. The controversial discussions have equally concerned norms embedded in international law and national constitutions, such as the responsibility to protect refugees.

This research training addresses the dissent over values and norms, sparked by refugee issues. Various approaches can be applied, such as ethnographic field research, survey analysis, and specific methods to dissect controversial debates.

Cosmopolitanism from Below? Refugees, States and Civil Society in Comparative

Cosmopolitanism from Below? Refugees, States and Civil Society in Comparative Perspective

WS 2016/17

Dozent: Prof. Thomas Faist

This course asks whether it is possible that refugees and natives interact in mutually beneficial ways. What are the mechanisms of mutual adjustment which ensures benefits on both sides? Are there cases in which the host communities or societies have proactively changed their ways of organizing important spheres of life in order to accommodate the in-migration of newcomers? Are cases such as Riace in Italy examples of social relations at eye level and cosmopolitanism from below (e.g. http://www.euronews.com/2015/10/16/riace-italy-a-haven-for-refugees)? The students will develop and carry out their own research projects on crucial cases shedding light on these questions.

Social Boundaries in Higher Education

Social Boundaries in Higher Education

SS 2016

Dozentin: Prof. Dr. Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka

Universities all around the world are undergoing thorough transformations instigated or buttressed by global forces, and they face similar problems while competing for status, influence, and wealth. University students constitute the most central stakeholder ?group? in higher education whereas the student body has significantly changed in the last decades: in size, in demographic composition, in needs, aspirations, and in expectations. Student choices, visions, and their voiced critique have exerted significant pressures on individual institutions and on entire systems of higher education. Therefore, the current transformations of universities as well as those of student bodies are intertwined. While top-down approaches examining higher education from policy and from systemic perspectives have established themselves as a growing study field, inquiries observing these challenges from the vantage point of students have been rather scarce, so far. Therefore, this ?Lehrforschung-Seminar addresses the global challenges of higher education from student perspective. It concentrates at students, inquiring how global influences they face directly and via their educational institutions impinge upon their preferences, choices and possibilities.

In the last decade, social scientists from various disciplines have geared more and more attention at higher education. New studies inquire into the changing characteristics of universities ? e.g. in the quest to respond to a growing diversity of student bodies, to neo-liberal imperatives as well as to new social expectations. They also ask why pronounced inequalities remain in higher education, despite the egalitarian underpinnings and the universal promise. How do the new developments ? in particular, the higher admission rates, the national and global competition, and also the increasing economisation of the academic system - challenge higher education theory, policy and practice? What insights do we gain from these dynamics on the nature of change in contemporary societies? -This seminar uses a constructivist perspective on the making and unmaking of social boundaries seeking to understand changing modalities of inclusion and exclusion in higher education across the world. The purpose of the seminar is to address these issue in three ways:

  • In the first part, we look at the current state of higher education research across the disciplines, and in particular in the emerging field of anthropology of higher education.
  • The second part examines how social boundaries are constructed in higher education systems in different parts of the world. The focus lies here on research of
    • access of people with different social and spatial backgrounds in the higher education system as well as their positioning along the lines of class, gender and ethnicity, and their experiences of inclusion and exclusion.
    • in turn, we look at institutional responsiveness to growing diversity and heterogeneity, policies of affirmative action and politics of student organisations.
  • In the third and final part of the seminar, we use our empirical insights to critically assess wider agendas of international organisations such as the World Bank (2002), UNESCO (2009) or OECD (2012), which all propagate university education as a means to advance development, democracy and good lives. While they emphasise human capital (knowledge, technology, innovation) as an engine for economic growth, we also reflect how higher education can contribute to the building of more just societies. Against this backdrop, we also inquire into student politics aimed at achieving more justice and inclusion.

Diese Lehrforschung hat folgende Publikation hervorgebracht: Pfaff-Czarnecka - das soziale Leben der Universität

New trends in immigration to Germany: Characteristics, actors and policies

Kleine LeFo

New trends in immigration to Germany: Characteristics, actors and policies

Mustafa Aksakal und Kerstin Schmidt

SoSe 2015, WiSe 2015/2016

Migration is a highly dynamic process and its patterns change over time. These developments depend on a variety of influencing factors. The Lehrforschung aims to address questions with regard to these changes and focusses on characteristics, actors and policies in the German context.
The first sequence of the Lehrforschung (summer term 2015) is divided into four thematic blocks. First, different theoretical approaches on migration will be addressed. Second, an overview about a concrete example of research on current immigration to Germany will be offered. Third, an introduction into qualitative research methods relevant in the context of studying migration will be provided. Fourth, work in small groups will enable students to develop the research design for their study.
The programme of this semester aims to prepare students for their fieldwork, which should be finalized before the start of the winter term in October. The second part of the seminar, to take place in the winter term 2015/2016, will focus on different forms of analysis of the interview material as well as on the oral and written presentation of the results.

Transnational Social Protection: Migrants' Informal Practices and Social Inequalities

Transnational Social Protection: Migrants' Informal Practices and Social Inequalities

SoSe 2013 & WS 2013/14

Dozentinnen: Dr. Basak Bilecen-Süoglu, Karolina Barglowski und Joanna Sienkiewicz

The course is divided into three parts: theoretical, methodological and practical. The theoretical debates on transnational migration, social protection and intersectionality will be studied first. Then, the application of qualitative methods will be discussed. The students will have the opportunity to learn about data collection methods and qualitative analysis techniques with the main focus on interpretative methods. During the practical part, students will be guided to conceptualize their own research agenda. Therefore, this course will teach to students to practice critical thinking and analysis in reading, listening, discussing and writing as well as carrying out their own research.

Social protection across borders is an important area of persons’ lives, especially for those who are highly prone to risks and vulnerabilities such as migrants. The term encompasses supportive resources embedded in interpersonal networks as well as formal regulatory schemes. The main aim of the course is to teach how to conduct research in sociology. All of the participants are expected to conduct an empirical investigation and write their research project.

The course is divided into three parts: theoretical, methodological and practical. The theoretical debates on transnational migration, social protection and intersectionality will be studied first. Then, the application of qualitative methods will be discussed. The students will have the opportunity to learn about data collection methods and qualitative analysis techniques with the main focus on interpretative methods. During the practical part, students will be guided to conceptualize their own research agenda. Therefore, this course will teach to students to practice critical thinking and analysis in reading, listening, discussing and writing as well as carrying out their own research.

Ethnizität an der Universität

Ethnizität an der Universität

SoSe 2012 & WS 2012/13

Betreut von Prof. Dr. Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka, Hannah Burger und Patricia Pielage

Mit der Bildungsexpansion nahm die Zahl der Studierenden in Deutschland zu und die Studierenden zeichnen sich zunehmend durch verschiedene Heterogenitätsmerkmale – v.a. Ethnizität, Race, Religion, Schichtzugehörigkeit und Gender - aus. Diese Lehrforschung nimmt den Umstand zur Ausgangslage, dass immer mehr Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund an deutschen Universitäten studieren. Es geht von der Beobachtung aus, dass Studierende an deutschen Universitäten die genannten Heterogenitäten und damit verbunden soziale (ethnisierende) Grenzziehungen wahrnehmen und höchst individuell verarbeiten.

Im Zentrum des Interesses standen die Fragen, (erstens) wie diese Grenzziehungen wahrgenommen werden, (zweitens) wie die Studierenden mit diesen Grenzziehungen umgehen, sowie (drittens) welche Effekte diese Grenzziehungen haben können: Wirken die ethnisierenden Grenzziehungen als ‚Enabling‘? (in Bezug auf Rollenmodelle, Solidaritätsmuster) oder aber als auch als ‚Constraining‘? (beispielsweise betreffend der eingeschränkten Handlungsoptionen und Teilhabechancen). Wirkt das Heterogenitätsmerkmal ‚Ethnizität’ an der Universität als Ungleichheit generierend? Und wenn ja: Durch welche Mechanismen?

Im Rahmen der Lehrforschung sollte das Wechselspiel zwischen den organisatorischen Bedingungen der Universität zusammen mit den persönlichen Wahrnehmungen, Beziehungen und Handlungsoptionen betrachtet werden. Gegenstand der Analyse sind insbesondere die Netzwerkbildung, welche die Studierenden praktizieren, Prozesse der Vergemeinschaftung sowie die Zugehörigkeitskonstellationen unter den Peers.


Informationen zu den Lehrfoschungsprojekten:

Alexander Lupczyk (Download)

Saskia Zimmermann:
Daniela Rodehutskors: Erzählungen ausländischer Studierender über ihre sozialen Kontakte und ethnisierende Grenzziehungsprozesse - Inwiefern ziehen internationale Studierende in Befragungen zu ihren sozialen Kontakten im Land ihrer ausländischen Hochschule ethnisierende Kategorisierungspraktiken zur (Re)konstruktion ihrer sozialen Realität heran?

Sophia Stockmann: Gleiche Chancen zur Mitbestimmung? Partizipationsmöglichkeiten von Studierenden in der Fachschaft (Download)



Grenzbildungsprozesse aus transnationaler Perspektive

Grenzbildungsprozesse aus transnationaler Perspektive

SoSe 2011 & WS 2011/12

Dozentin: He-Young Haubner

Grenzen werden auf unterschiedlichen Ebenen, von unterschiedlichen Akteuren und auf vielfältige Weise gezogen. Aus transnationaler Perspektive sind hierbei insbesondere Fragen nach der Konstruiertheit und Durchlässigkeit von Grenzen sowie den komplexen Dynamiken an der Schnittstelle von territorialen, sozialen und symbolischen Grenzen von Bedeutung.

Was sind Grenzen und wie und durch wen werden sie hergestellt? Welche Arten von Grenzen sind denkbar und wer oder was wird durch Grenzen markiert und dadurch aus- bzw. eingeschlossen? Wie wirken Grenzen zwischen Staaten auf soziale Beziehungen und wie werden nationalstaatliche Grenzen in sozialen Interaktionen, insbesondere auch durch die Forschungspraxis, (re-)produziert?

Im Rahmen der Lehrforschung sollen unterschiedliche Grenzbildungsprozesse empirisch aufgearbeitet werden. Ein Schwerpunkt sollte dabei auf der Konstruktion von MigrantInnen als primär nationalstaatlich markierter und homogener Gruppe liegen („Türken“ in „Deutschland“). Hierbei kann untersucht werden wie sich migrantische Gruppen in Relation zu anderen, migrantischen und nicht-migrantischen, Gruppen in den Einwanderungs- und Auswanderungsländern herausbilden oder wie sich interne Grenzbildungsprozesse entlang anderer sozialer Kategorien wie Geschlecht, Alter oder Bildungsstand zur national markierten Grenze nach außen verhalten.



Natalya Kashkovskaya: Bedeutung der Kategorie Russe im Kontext der Russendisko „Prime“ in Bielefeld. (Download)

Politics of Identity and Belonging in South Asia (Bangladesh, Nepal, Indien)

Politics of Identity and Belonging in South Asia (Bangladesch/Nepal/Indien)


Dozentinnen Prof. Dr. Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka und Dr. Eva Gerharz

TeilnehmerInnen: Sven Busse, Johanna Gesing, Jonas Jungbluth, Arne Michels, Anja Petschel, Nicole Stockrahm, Daniela Urbansky.


Modes of Mobility (Ghana, Deutschland)

Modes of Mobility (Ghana/Deutschland)


Dozentin: Dr. Nadine Sieveking


TeilnehmerInnen: Stefan Bröhl, Jasmina Bujupi, Nihad El Kayed, Éva Rozália Hölzle, Alia Jakoby, Sebastian Lemme, Bakyt Muratbayeva, Astrid Rütter, Johanna Sydow


Astrid Rütter
"We bring everybody together "
Protestmobilisierung in der Fischer-Community

Jasmina Bujupi
"Employment Propects of the Youth in Ghana in the Region of Kumasi"

Bakyt Muratbayeva
"Zongo and the community of work and life in Accra, Ghana"

Johanna Sydow
"Goldbergbau in Ghana"
Eine Analyse sozialer Schnittstellen im Kontext großtechnischen Goldbergbaus in Ghana


Development, Democratisation, and Belonging (Bangladesh, Nepal)
Diaspora and Development (Ghana)

Diaspora and Development (Ghana)


Dozent: Prof. Thomas Faist, PhD


Annett Bochmann, Daniel Daroussis und Jonas Kubitscheck
"Returned Experts and Their Ties: Mechanisms of Social Support"


Diese Lehrforschung hat folgende Publikation hervorgebracht:
Unravelling Migrants as Transnational Agents of Development - Social Spaces in between Ghana and Germany. Münster: Lit Verlag (2011). Co-edited with Nadine Sieveking (IBSN: 978-3-643-90111-8 [Titel anhand dieser ISBN in Citavi-Projekt übernehmen] )

Summer Schools

The Transnational Social Question: Implications for Concepts and Methods,
    International Summer School 2012
Transnationalization and Citizenship: Migration in an Age of Social and Political
   Transformation, International Summer School 2011

Migration und Klimawandel, Spring School 2010