Working Paper 7 "Navigieren zwischen symbolischen Grenzen. Eine Typologisierung der Grenzarbeit von Migrantinnen und Migranten am Beispiel des Umgangs mit Vornamen"
Jürgen Gerhards – 2017
Referring to the literature on symbolic boundary making and stigmatization and based on an analysis of eleven group discussions including over 50 migrants stemming from different countries we reconstruct migrants’ experiences with their first names in Germany and their strategies of boundary making and stigma management. The results show that all participants are very much aware of the fact that first names function as an important marker of symbolic and social boundaries (discrimination) between the majority society and migrant minorities. At the same time, the interviewees differ regarding the way they react to the experienced boundaries. Four types of boundary work each owning specific basic orientations, can be distinguished. Border crossing (I), border blurring (II), border transvaluation (III) and boundary irrelevance and in-group orientation (IV). We describe each type extensively with reference to the theoretical literature.