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Research Seminar on the Current Situation of Refugees in Berlin

Head of project: Prof. Dr. Olaf Zenker (olaf.zenker@fu-berlin.de)

Group coordinators: Klaus Behnam ShadDr. Jonas BensCarolina KnerrŽiga Podgornik-Jakil

In the past summer semester as part of a BA research seminar by Olaf Zenker, students of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology did anthropological research in four different settings all related to the current refugee situation in Berlin. As our goal was to understand the dynamics of the field from divers perspectives, we decided to engage with an NGO working with refugees, a company operating a refugee emergency shelter (Notunterkunft), the official support point for refugees, and, of course, the refugees themselves.

Over the course of the last four months the students have done regular participant observation and have held interviews in their respective fields. To be able to produce a joint text as a final result each group focused on similar questions regarding the sense of normality and time, organizational structures and rules, as well as communication and power structures.

Now the active research time is over and the analysis of our data has begun. Each student group will be writing a research paper with their findings. In a second seminar taking place in the upcoming winter semester these texts will be reduced in length and conglomerated into a final paper. We hope to be able to present our findings before different audiences such as political organizations and at academic panels.