Perspectives of young Vietnamese Germans

Perspectives of young Vietnamese Germans

Participating Researchers: Dr. Jessica Schwittek, Prof. Dr. Alexandra König

Running Time: ongoing since 2021

Project Description

Migrants from Vietnam are often characterized as a well-adjusted, educationally successful "model minority" whose offspring achieve high educational qualifications and social advancement despite unfavorable conditions (Hoang 2020). At the same time, the group and its lived experiences are often described as "invisible." This is also reflected in academia, and the few existing studies on young Viet Germans mostly focus on education and educational success. The project "Perspectives of Young Vietnamese Germans" contributes to letting young Vietnamese Germans speak for themselves and to understanding the diversity and complexity of their lived experiences.

The project is embedded in a larger research context on growing up in Asian societies and in Asian communities in Germany. The theoretical starting point is the heuristic concept of generational patterns of solidarity, which - to put it in simplistic terms - are often interdependent in Asian societies and mostly independent in Western societies. The two patterns imply different conceptions of intergenerational relations and mutual expectations and obligations between the age groups and different normative reference points (e.g., "filial piety" in the interdependent model and "good childhood" in the independent model, Bühler-Niederberger 2021).

Asian-European migration contexts, such as the Vietnamese-German one, are an exciting field of research because both patterns of solidarity and their corresponding cultural conceptions are often relevant in these families and have to be balanced and reconciled between family members. The project is interested in the negotiation processes in families and identifies the creative, individual and culturally hybrid solutions that young people and their relatives find to this (not only) migration-related challenge. Particularly relevant here are also migration-societal conditions that provide both hurdles and opportunities for these negotiation processes. So far, six narrative interviews with young Viet-Germans have been conducted, and their perspectives on growing up, family relationships, and ties to Vietnam, in addition to their biographical experiences and decisions, have been reconstructed.

An extension of the study is planned, which will focus more on the (formal) structures of Vietnamese communities in Germany, such as associations and self-organized migrant groups.


Schwittek, J.; Bühler-Niederberger, D. & Labuda, K. (forthcoming). “In this way my parents could really develop” – Individualized Interdependence in Viet-German families. In: D. Bühler-Niederberger, X. Gu, Schwittek, J. and E. Kim, (Ed.) The Emerald Handbook of Childhood and Youth in Asian Societies. Emerald Publishing.