In Germany, as in many other countries, current conceptions of integration focus on increasing interactions of immigrants with old-time residents - as a means of achieving immigrants’ social integration into local milieus. This is especially true for adult migrants who linger in long-term unemployment, and thus eschew the two main institutional foci of integration policy, namely workplaces and schools. It is this segment of migrant population that is then the primary target of neighborhood integration projects that this contribution examines. More specifically, and drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in socio-economically marginalized neighborhoods of eastern Berlin-Marzahn which are a home to a large number of Russian-speaking immigrants of German origin, I examine these projects’ attempts to construct communal social spaces shared by migrants and local residents. I start by noting the difficulties that integration practitioners encounter in their attempts. I then highlight how the initial necessity of social spaces that are culturally and linguistically familiar to recent immigrants has, in conjunction with other factors, led to the establishment of at times solidified Russian-language-only communal spaces. While seemingly at odds with the pursued goal of social integration, in the last part of this paper, I make sense of the importance of migrant spaces for migrants’ integration. To that end I stress the need to conceptualize “integration” as enhoming, a dialectical process of inhabiting a space and being inhabited by it, that always entails habitus re-alignment.
|Number of pages||1|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
|Event||Nordic Geographers Meeting : Geographical Imagination: Interpretations of Nature, Art and Politics - Tallinn University, Tallinn/Tartu, Estonia|
Duration: 15 Jun 2015 → 19 Jun 2015
https://www.tlu.ee/en/NGM2015 (Link to conference)
|Conference||Nordic Geographers Meeting|
|Period||15/06/2015 → 19/06/2015|