This website uses cookies

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using our website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Cookie Policy.

Project information

Project team

Karin Wiest, Elisabeth Kirndörfer, Madlen Pilz

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

Locally stranded, globally embedded. Dealing with diversity on the margins of the postmigrant city

A comparison between Munich and Leipzig

Everyday life in German cities is strongly determined by transnational realities, hybrid identities and intensive migration movements. The project addressed the question of how pluralization in migration societies influences and shapes urban discourses and everyday worlds. Using the example of the major cities of Munich and Leipzig, which are characterized, among other things, by East and West German paths of internationalization, the project aimed to explain differentiated experiences, practices, and discourses in dealing with "migration" and national-ethnic-cultural difference, respectively, in their specific sociopolitical and socioeconomic contexts. The focus was on the post-migrant perspective (Espahangizi 2016, Foroutan 2019), which points to the need for a change in view of the reality of migration society. "City" was conceived in the project context as a site of social negotiation and as the result of a multitude of everyday routines and practices of spatial appropriation and production. Social hierarchizations, inclusions and exclusions produced via the factor "migration" were analyzed on the following scales:

  • In selected everyday urban contexts such as urban neighborhoods and concrete settings such as youth clubs and women's cafés, among others.
  • In the public discourses of the media and local politics
  • In the relations of everyday practices and public debates

Through a comparative analysis of the study examples in Leipzig and Munich, insights were gained, among other things, into how socio-political and socio-economic contexts influence how difference and diversity are dealt with.  The following could be shown:

  • In Leipzig, argumentations around the importance of migration against the backdrop of many years of shrinkage as well as a threatening loss of image due to debates about xenophobia are important drivers of the discursive debate. The results for Munich, on the other hand, somewhat limit the notion of the West German city open to and tolerant of migration, which has been consolidated in the national discourse, by revealing social limitations and discursive othering for migrant-marked segments of the population.
  • The different field approaches in both cities highlighted the importance of the "ordinary" places of the migration society. In these spaces, which despite different routines and equipment make encounters possible and whose actors actively participate in the shaping of urban society, people struggle for participation and experience recognition. At the same time, it could be shown that simplistic explanations that interpret the handling of natio-ethno-cultural difference in terms of linear East-West development differences fall short.
  • Last but not least, the post-migrant perspective in the East German context must be viewed with a certain reservation, because here it is predominantly newcomers who are working on shaping a (post-)migrant society. Moreover, in the disputes about the topic of "migration" in the Leipzig study examples, it became clear that the positions and hierarchies of urban society in the national context - i.e., the East-West relationship in Germany - are negotiated through it as a proxy.


Kirndörfer, Elisabeth (2021): Polic(sh)ing up the Leipzig Main Station: an ethnographic reflection on abjection, space and resistance. In: Subjectivity.

Kirndörfer, Elisabeth / Pilz, Madlen (2021): "Tense encounters". How migrantised women design and reimagine urban everyday life. In: Anna Meera Gaonkar/Astrid Sophie Ost Hansen/Hans Christian Post/Moritz Schramm (Eds.): Postmigration. Bielefeld: transcript Verlag. Seite: 299–318.

Wiest, Karin / Torreiter, Laura / Kirndörfer, Elisabeth (2021): The Role of Natio-Ethno-Cultural Difference in Narratives of Neighbourhood Change – An Arrival Area in the East German Context. In: Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geographie.

Wiest, Karin / Kirndörfer, Elisabeth / Pilz, Madlen (2021): Alltägliche Aushandlungen von Pluralität und Differenz – Perpektiven auf das Zusammenleben am Großstadtrand. (forum ifl 41), Leipzig, 71 S.

Kirndörfer, Elisabeth / Wiest, Karin (2020). Eine Moschee für Leipzig? Verdeckte Konflikte um urbane Zugehörigkeiten in der Migrationsgesellschaft. Migration und soziale Arbeit, 42, S.117–127.
Pilz, Madlen (2020). Partizipation migrantisch markierter Bürgerinnen in der Süddeutschen Zeitung – eine diskursanalytische Sondierung. Geographica Helvetica, 75(2), 195-208. DOI:
Wiest, Karin (2020): Ordinary Places of Postmigrant Societies: Dealing with Difference in West and East German Neighbourhoods. Urban Planning, 5(3), 115–126. DOI:

Wiest, Karin (2020): „Blicke wechseln“ – Wissenschaftstransfer vor und nach dem Lockdown. In: IfL-Blog [Weblog], 15 May 2020. Online publication: Polling date 16.05.2020

März 2020: City district exhibition "Blicke wechseln"

Wiest, Karin (2020): Postmigrant city? Urban migration societies as a starting point for a normative-critical reorientation in urban studies: Geographica Helvetica, Social Geography, 75, 1–10, 2020.

Pilz, Madlen (2019): Stadtteilarbeit: Bewohnerzentrum Nordhaide: Mitarbeiterinnen gestalten Gesellschaft. In: Bunnyhill Express, Mitarbeitendenzeitschrift der Diakonie Hasenbergl, Nr. 22/2019, S. 40-41.

Kirndörfer, Elisabeth / Pilz, Madlen / Wiest Karin (Hrsg.) (2019): Die "postmigrantische Stadt" – urbanes Zusammenleben aus der Perspektive der Migration. Geographica Helvitica, Special Edition: Social Geography,

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:

Wiest, Karin / Kirndörfer, Elisabeth (2019): Paradoxe Aushandlungen von Migration im Diskurs um die Leipziger Eisenbahnstraße In: Raumforschung und Raumordnung. DOI:

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