Contributions to the Yearbook of the MPS


  • Refugees without Age

    2022 Bialas, Ulrike
    Because minors and adults have different rights, German government agencies need to know a person’s exact age. In the case of young refugees, this is often a challenge: few own identity documents and many do not even know their date of birth. How do government agencies deal with such uncertainty? And how do refugees themselves experience the enormous significance of their age in Germany? In my research, I examine age from multiple perspectives and show that this ostensibly straightforward biological category is also a complex social construct.


  • Open to diversity?

    2021 Boekle, Sanja; Schönwälder, Karen
    The political presence and representation of immigrants is a controversial topic in German society. Increasingly, marginalisation and discrimination are no longer being accepted as the norm. But to what extent are advocacy organisations, important actors in a democracy, willing and able to represent the interests of the migrant population, to open up to them, and to ensure their participation on an equal footing? These are the questions we explored in our research project.


  • Religion, morality and economic transformation

    2020 Ladwig, Patrice
    The connections of religion, morality and economy featured prominently among the classical works in the sociology of religion, but new economic forms, their global entanglements and their effects on religious actors demand new research approaches. In Buddhism one finds ritual technologies of self-cultivation, which are used for enhancement of productivity. There are also ritual economies, which re-distribute wealth according to moral criteria. The economy is therefore not to be understood as a solely rational and secular matter, but is embedded in religious practices and moral values.


  • Ageing across borders: Growing older in a globalised world

    2019 Amrith, Megha
    The world’s population is ageing. Yet, not all of these people will be growing older in the places they might have imagined. As individuals, families and communities become increasingly embedded in transnational networks that span multiple locales, it is timely to examine the cultural, political and ethical implications of growing older in an interconnected but unequal world.


  • Empires of memory

    2018 Walton, Jeremy F.
    The empires that once defined Europe no longer exist. However, Europe’s former empires have not simply become relics of history. Imperial pasts continue to inspire nostalgia, identification, pride, anxiety, skepticism, and disdain today. Especially the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires are enjoying a renaissance and even are thought to offer solutions to today’s conflicts based on ethnic, religious and national diversity. Following the legacies and memories of empires in eight southeast and central European cities sheds light on forms of “restorative” and “reflective” nostalgia for both empires.


  • Temples, Rituals and the Transformation of Transnational Networks in Southeast Asia

    2017 van der Veer, Peter; Dean, Kenneth
    For more than six centuries, a Southeast Chinese trading empire spread around the coastal ports of Southeast Asia. This trading network was built up through common language, social and cultural-religious institutions. Over the past 30 years, this large network has turned back to China, with more than a million temples being rebuilt, especially in the south-east. The restoration of these local and transnational networks is an extremely important phenomenon. Chinaʼs interaction with Southeast Asia is far more complex than simplifying models about the spread of Chinese “soft power” suggest.


  • The reinvention of territoriality: Legal cartographies of borders and migration control in a globalized world

    2016 Shachar, Ayelet

    The fortified border has always served as a powerful symbol of sovereignty, governance and jurisdiction. Now a new and striking phenomenon—the shifting border—has emerged. Unlike a refortified physical barrier, it is not fixed in time and place. Instead, prosperous countries increasingly rely on sophisticated legal tools to detach migration regulation from a fixed territorial location. This reinvention relies on law’s admission gates rather than a specific frontier location with dramatic implications for the scope of rights and protections that migrants and other non-citizens may enjoy.


  • How cities in Germany and France respond to diversity

    2015 Martínez Ariño, Julia; Schönwälder, Karen

    Cities all over the world are becoming more and more diverse. The CityDiv project looks at local responses to the diversification of urban populations in Germany and France. By responses to diversity the project refers to the measures taken at the local level to deal with the changing characteristics and needs of urban populations. Two main research questions guide the CityDiv project. First, do cities respond in similar or different ways to the diversification of their populations? Second, do, and if so how, issues related to diversity enter into cities’ governance networks?


  • Urban aspirations in Seoul: Religion and megacities in comparative studies

    2014 Jung, Jin-Heon
    The success of Seoul’s modernization has been accompanied by religious revivals, demonstrating a stark contrast to the Eurocentric secularization theory. This makes the South Korean capital’s metropolis area with over 26 million people a productive and provocative site for historical and contemporary comparison. Christianity is used as a starting point in a project from which to illuminate multiple religious and urban aspirations. But Seoul is also known for its great diversity of religious expressions and Christianity’s vexed relationship with Buddhism, Shamanism, and Islam.


  • GLOBALDIVERCITIES – migration and new diversities in global cities

    2013 Vertovec, Steven
    How can people live together, with ever more diverse characteristics, in the world’s rapidly expanding cities? Research at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity asks: What are the similarities and differences in social and spatial patterns that arise when new diversity meets old diversity? Three contexts of super-diversity are studied spanning anthropology and human geography to understand the changing nature of diversity and its socio-spatial patterns: New York, Singapore, and Johannesburg.


  • The spread of Tibetan Buddhism in China: charisma, money, enlightenment

    2012 Smyer Yu, Dan

    The revival of Tibetan Buddhism in contemporary China is intimately bound with both the affirming and negating forces of globalization, modernity, and politics of religion, indigenous identity reclamation, and the market economy. Tibetan Buddhism is multidimensional in relation to different religious, cultural, and political constituencies of China. Its revival is not an isolated event limited merely to Tibetan regions; instead, it is a result of the intersection of both local and global transformative changes.


  • Global Cities – Open Cities? Segregation in the Global South

    2011 Vigneswaran, Darshan
    Why aren’t the forces of globalization creating open cities? In South Africa and India new urban elites are closely connected to a global economy and culture. Meanwhile, the segregation of their immediate neighbors in slums and townships creates unprecedented harm to the human development of marginal communities.  A comparison between two global cities, Johannesburg and Mumbai, will refocus research on segregation.


  • Urban religion in Mumbai and Singapore

    2010 van der Veer, Peter
    This research project at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity compares the location of religion and the construction of belonging in two world cities, Mumbai and Singapore. Singapore is a global city and a nation-state. Mumbai is India’s most modern mega-city. The project addresses three questions: What is the relation between urban religiosity and secular urbanity? To what extent are these cities to be understood as “global”? What explains the differences in multicultural politics in these two cities?


  • Diversity and Society

    2009 Nieswand, Boris
    Over the last years three reasons have contributed to an increased interest in the concept of diversity: general tendencies towards individualization, increase in migration-based diversity, increase in value of antidiscrimination discourses. By confronting the academic challenges of ethnic and religious diversity, social scientific migration research opens itself towards research on society in general.


  • Immigrants in Mainstream Politics: In Germany Still Rare

    2008 Schönwälder, Karen
    So far, the integration of immigrants in political decision-making processes is a little researched topic. A project at the Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity investigates the conditions and development of immigrants’ political careers and shows that the careers of members of parliaments follow different logics in different European states.


  • Researching new Intersections of Diversity

    2007 Vertovec, Steven
    Widespread and accelerating globalization processes have meant that modes and markers of diversity have become more enhanced. The current rising salience of ethnic and religious identities is emblematic of such developments. The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity will be devoted to comparative research and theoretical analysis of historical and contemporary patterns of diversity in Europe and around the world.




  • Places of power

    2003 Ehlers, Caspar
    The idea for the "Orte der Herrschaft - Places of Power" project at the Max-Planck-Institut für Geschichte grew out of a workshop in comparative medieval history at Harvard University. Comparative presentations of Islamic, Byzantine and medieval German palaces suggested the potential interest of exploring a comparative approach in the context of the research program "Repertorium der deutschen Königspfalzen". The idea is to set the specialized work ongoing in the Repertorium against the broader comparative backdrop of the European Middle Ages.
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