Locally stranded, globally embedded

Dealing with diversity on the margins of the postmigrant city. A comparison between Munich and Leipzig

Wallpaper in the Import Export Canteen Munich (Photo: M. Pilz)

Multiple transcultural and transnational urban realities, related to growing international migratory movements, are engendering a new view on urban societies in Germany: The postmigrant perspective shapes recent cultural, political and scientific debates. At the same time, parts of the urban population are increasingly endangered by marginalisation and poverty.

Against this backdrop, the project explores on the one hand, how everyday life is experienced and negotiated in certain transcultural settings and how this is related to the production of new urban realities. On the other hand, it targets the question of how local policy and media discourses are dealing with the realities of a postmigrant society.

The empirical studies carried out in the cities of Leipzig and Munich aim to consider differentiated experiences and strategies dealing with urban diversity and marginality. The exploration of transcultural and marginalised life worlds in different urban settings is based on an ethnographic approach with a focus on participatory observations and narrative interviews. On the other hand, the logics and discursive pattern related to public discourses dealing with transcultural diversity and urban inequality are investigated by expert surveys and media analysis. The main research questions are as follows:

  • How are diversity and crosscultural encounters experienced and negotiated in urban everyday life?
  • How are the realities of a postmigrant society negotiated and reflected in policies and the local media?
  • What are the entanglements between these different discursive practices?

The comparative dimension of the project entails the study of urban discourses and everyday life practice in Munich and Leipzig. It aims to identify and to explain different ways to deal with marginalisation and diversity against the backdrop of certain political and socioeconomic structures. Correspondingly, cities are conceptualised as globally interconnected spaces of transition.


Wiest, Karin (2019): Preface: Postmigrantische Stadt? Urbane Migrationsgesellschaften als Ausgangspunkt für einen kritisch-normativen Perspektivwechsel in der sozialgeographischen Stadtforschung. In: Geographica Helvetica 74, 273–283. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-74-273-2019

Wiest, Karin / Kirndörfer, Elisabeth (2019): Paradoxe Aushandlungen von Migration im Diskurs um die Leipziger Eisenbahnstraße In: Raumforschung und Raumordnung. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/rara-2019-0030

Wiest, Karin (2019): Migrationsgesellschaft und Zusammenleben im Quartier: Differenzierte Aushandlungsbedingungen in ost- und westdeutschen Stadtkontexten. In: RaumPlanung 202, 3/4: 77–82.

Project information

Project team

Karin Wiest, Madlen Pilz, Elisabeth Kirndörfer



Duration of project

08/2016 – 03/2020

Funded by

German Research Foundation (DFG)

Further information

Dr. Karin Wiest
Tel. +49 341 600 55-251

Project leaflet (pdf / 270 kb)


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