Some substantial research activities entail either multi-disciplinary teams working in coordination (often across several sites or with hefty data sets) concerning a central research question, or numerous scholars and project initiatives organized around a research programme with a key concept or approach.
Click on the respective links, which will open up sub-sites with more information about these, including the key research questions, team members, methods and findings arising.
This project aims to understand the foundations and mechanisms underlying diversity assent in cities located both in West and East Germany. Two core motivations underlie the project: So far, we insufficiently understand what motivates those who oppose right-wing positions, usually a majority among inhabitants of cities in Germany and other Western European countries. Second, this project builds on a previous large-scale project of the department, “Diversity and Contact”
, and explores to what extent attitudes and patterns of interaction have changed, or remained constant, in the decade from 2010 to 2020, that is, a time of major ruptures and political polarization. We designed a large telephone survey of 2,850 respondents, asking a set of interrelated questions on fundamental dispositions towards diversity, everyday experiences and diversification dynamics. This includes an innovative set of survey experiments designed to tap and measure social norms of tolerance. We anticipate results from this survey to fill a major research gap in the literature on immigration and orientations toward diversity, which has thus far largely focussed on the determinants of hostility and anti-diversity attitudes rather on the determinants of more open views.
Funded by the Open Research Area (ORA) for the Social Sciences, this joint research project studies intercultural, interethnic and interreligious encounters as exemplified by Jews and Muslims in urban Europe. The largest European populations of these two groups - overwhelmingly urban, concentrated in the same cities, and, strikingly, often in the same neighbourhoods - are in France, Germany and the UK, countries which on the face of it have followed different models of framing majority-minority relations, creating ideal conditions for a comparative study of the possibilities of living together in urban Europe.
The Max Planck research group looks at how Cyprus, Greece and Malta have managed their transformation from countries of emigration to destination countries for migrants and asylum seekers; and their emergence as border states of an emerging EU migration and asylum regime. Scholars from the three countries and migration researchers from Europe will form a network and explore this rebordering
of the Southeast Mediterranean in a series of workshops and international conferences.
The project investigates how and why civil society organizations change in response to migration and societal diversity. Such organizations play a key role in processes of social self organization and participation, and they are indispensable for societal integration in developed democracies. While we now know that migration processes transform host societies, we are also aware of the persistence of institutions and organizations and of the related processes of exclusion and discrimination. This project investigates this tension while focusing on the conditions and actors that further change towards more openness, diversity and participation. The focus will be on organizations for which difference and participation are constitutive because they represent particular, potentially disadvantaged population groups.
Completed Large Projects
The African continent is rapidly urbanizing. If this point is agreed upon by a wide variety of actors—from media, to governments, UN agencies, development banks as well as scholars—there is far less consensus about what this process will mean for Africans. As regional and global crossroads, African cities refract broader geo-economic and political trends, often in innovative, anticipatory and unexpected ways. The Academy of African Urban Diversity (AAUD) supports emerging scholars from across the social sciences who are attempting to provide answers to urgent questions related to Africa’s growing and diversifying cities. We do so through a multi-year series of workshops that brings together advanced doctoral students to debate and theorize the political, social and economic processes surrounding Africa’s urbanization.
In 2015, Germany experienced an influx of migrants entering the country. As a result, German authorities became responsible for providing accommodation for three-quarters of a million people during the course of their respective asylum determination processes. The sheer logistics of accommodating this number of asylum-seekers represents an immense organizational and financial undertaking. Federal, state and local authorities have responded by setting up a range of sites, structures (asylum-seekers’ housing centres or Flüchtlingsunterkünfte
) and modes of asylum-seeker accommodation quickly, extensively and painstakingly. Especially at the local level, measures to provide accommodation have proceeded usually efficiently, often experimentally, sometimes ingeniously and typically with very mixed outcomes.Despite mixed outcomes, as well as still-changing approaches among local authorities, most of the basic challenges of asylum-seeker accommodation have largely been met. Practically all asylum-seekers in Germany have been housed and provided for, however minimally or thoroughly. The nature of institutional arrangements during the phase of accommodation is decisive for structuring and conditioning ensuing processes of participation in society.
The Challenges of Migration, Integration and Exclusion (WiMi)
is a 3-year research initiative (2017-2020) financed by the Max Planck Society and led by Prof. Dr Marie-Claire Foblets
(Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale) and Prof. Dr Ayelet Shachar
(Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen). The project is coordinated by Dr Zeynep Yanasmayan
, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology (Halle).
Diversity has long been a distinguishing feature of cities and their populations. And yet, novel processes of diversification present new challenges: as postwar immigrants have become settled and recognized parts of the population, ongoing immigration adds to an increasingly heterogeneous population. Furthermore, other processes, such as the development of a broader variety of family forms and concepts of partnership, contribute to an increasing diversity of life trajectories and life concepts, particularly among the inhabitants of large cities. Politically, the recognition of difference and explicit “diversity” policies have gained more prominence.
For scientists working with visual data, the limitations inherent to conventional display devices and software can impose serious constraints on data collection, analysis and presentation of findings. With Datarama, the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity has developed a set of distinctive visual data solutions for a range of scientific applications, in order to deal with complexities and challenges of modern data workflows.
The Diversity and Contact project was concerned with the ways in which the socio-demographic and cultural diversity of societies affects the social interactions and attitudes of the individuals and groups within them. Focusing on Germany, where in some cities more than one third of the population are first- or second-generation immigrants, it examined how this phenomenon impacts on the ways in which urban residents interact, form friendships and come to trust or resent each other. An interdisciplinary team including colleagues from Oxford and Montreal applied a mixed-methods design combining a three-wave panel survey, qualitative fieldwork, area explorations and analysis of official data. A book and a number of high-level journal articles present representative findings on the frequency, contexts and consequences of intergroup interaction and deeper insights into how residents experience different neighbourhood contexts. In particular, it demonstrated that high levels of immigration-related diversity are associated with high levels of interaction and that fears of conflict and disintegration are not justified. Moreover, even rather superficial contact furthers positive attitudes to the other and to diversity.
Since 2015, thousands of refugees and asylum seekers have increasingly arrived in Europe as a result of violent conflicts, political persecution and precarious living conditions in many regions around the world. Most of the asylum seekers that have arrived in Europe are hosted by Germany, whose towns and cities are working hard to cope with the large number of newcomers. Because the situation has developed so quickly, there is an urgent necessity to learn more about the newcomers, and to consider how best to incorporate them and facilitate their integration.
Enabled by an Advanced Investigator Grant from the European Research Council
(ERC) to Prof. Vertovec, the GlobaldiverCities project is able to undertake simultaneous, multi-disciplinary comparative research in three significant contexts undergoing rapid diversification. The project’s core research question is: In public spaces compared across cities, what accounts for similarities and differences in social and spatial patterns that arise under conditions of diversification, when new diversity-meets-old diversity?
The project entails qualitative research in three contexts of super-diversity: New York (a classic city of immigration with new global migrant flows in a broadly supportive political context), Singapore (dominated by racial-cultural politics, and wholly dependent on new, highly restricted migrants), and Johannesburg (emerging from Apartheid with tensions around unregulated new, pan-African migrant flows).
The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (MPI-MMG) launched the Super-Diversity South Africa (SDSA) program in 2010.
The program supported research on ‘super-diversity’ in the context of contemporary South Africa, where multiple, longstanding modes of ethnic and religious diversity are subjected to new migration flows that are varied in terms of countries of origin, ethnicity, language, gendered channels of mobility, education, occupation, and location.