Moritz Schramm

"Postmigration: New Perspectives for Social and Cultural Studies"

Moritz Schramm
25/10 2017
12:15-13:15, Danish IAS conference room (Ø18-509-1)

Public debates about immigration and integration are often built around the very simple distinction between what is perceived as a sedentary, stable and more or less homogeneous we-group on the one side and newcomers, immigrants or refugees on the other side. In the most recent research this fundamental distinction is increasingly questioned and rejected – not least with the concept of “postmigration”, which is a new and rapidly developing concept in sociology, migration studies and cultural studies. It offers a new and different view on migration and its consequences. The concept enables us, sociologist Erol Yildiz argues in 2015, ‘to retell the history of migration and to radically rethink the whole field of migration studies’. The term ‘postmigration’ itself derives not from academic scholars or researchers, but has emerged among artists and intellectuals in Berlin/Germany who refuse to be labeled as ‘migrants’ or ‘immigrants’ and made the simple objects of national ‘integration’-politics. Instead, they insist on the overall plurality of life-stories and on the multiplicity of backgrounds as a fundamental condition of modern society and the social and cultural interaction among all its members. In the academic reception of the term one explores the notion of ‘postmigrant societies’ and debates analytical perspectives, trying to overcome the persistent demarcation-lines between migrants and non-migrants. In my lecture I will present the historical background of the term in the Berlin theater-scene, before I turn to the manifold academic reception and ask the overall question, whether – and how – this new concept can help us to gain new perspectives and new insights into some of the most recent developments and conflicts, we are dealing with in our days.