Project leader: Prof. Dr. Karen Schönwälder
Researchers: Sanja Bökle Dr. Vanessa Rau
Cooperation partner: Prof. Dr. Helen Baykara-Krumme (Universität Duisburg-Essen)

www.zomidi.de

The project investigates how and why civil society organizations change in response to migration and societal diversity. Organizations in which citizens come together to further common interests, to voice minority claims, fight for climate change or for human rights, to provide just a few examples, play a key role in processes of social self-organization and participation. They are also indispensable for societal integration in developed democracies. How flexibly do they adjust to social change? While we now generally assume that migration processes transform host societies, we do not know how this occurs, or does not occur, in different spheres of society. Institutions and organizations are often described as resistant to change. Exclusion and discrimination may hinder an equal participation of people of immigrant backgrounds. This project investigates the conditions and actors that further change towards more openness, diversity, and participation. The focus is on organizations for which difference and participation are constitutive because they represent particular, potentially disadvantaged population groups. Does this ‘sensitivity for difference’ make them inclusive towards immigrants and ethnic minority people? The Göttingen team specifically investigates a civil society organization of lesbian and gay persons, and another representing people with a disability and their families, both in Germany. Theoretically, the project aims to extend our understanding of organizational change, now mostly based on studies of businesses and administrations, to forms of organizations that follow, as we claim, a different logic. The MPI team cooperates with teams in Munich and Berlin. “ZOMiDi” is funded by the BMBF, and the National Ministry for Education and Research. It runs from 2018 to 2021.  

Karen Schönwälder, Projektleiterin des ZOMiDi-Teilprojekts “Behinderung/sexuelle Minderheiten”


The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, the Humboldt University of Berlin and the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich are involved in this collaborative project. The sub-project conducted at the Max Planck Institute investigates the Lebenshilfe, as an organization that brings together and represents people with a disability and their families, and the LSVD as an organization from the field of LBGT/sexual identity. The sub-project at the Humboldt University of Berlin investigates Ver.di as an organization of employees and the sub-project at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich studies the Deutsche Aids-Hilfe as another organization in the field of health/HIV. The goal is to analyze the extent to which the self-conceptions, interpretations of tasks and target groups as well as the practices of the analyzed organizations change and what accounts for these changes.

Do organizations that focus on differences respond in similar ways to the challenges linked with migration? What ‘best practices’ for organizational change can they offer? The aims of the project are relevant for both academic and applied contexts.

The collaborative project started in February 2018 and ends in January 2021.

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