Participation of refugee women in the German labor market. Biographical case studies from an intersectional perspective

Edited by: Dr. Katrin Menke

Whether as a guest worker, female caregiver, skilled worker or refugee from the Balkan war; in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany, women are known to have always migrated to Germany. Nevertheless, ‘migrant women’ are rarely the focus of migration, gender or work sociology. The reproduction of the social figure of the refugee as a man as well as androcentric concepts and analyzes can also be seen in current research on questions of ‘labor market integration’ of refugees coming to Germany around 2015. This habilitation project aims to overcome these omissions and, against the background of an activating welfare state, researches the social positioning of women who have fled to Germany along an intersectional basis perspective. The focus is on the question of what experiences, on the one hand, the local labor market actors in the municipalities, on the other hand, and the collective stories of the women themselves with regard to their participation in the labor market and which (external and self) classification processes may come into play. To answer these questions, I am interested firstly in powerful discourses in the field of local job placement, secondly in the interplay of welfare state policies - such as labor market, asylum and equality policies - and thirdly in the self-concepts of refugee women.

As part of a reconstructive research design, I conduct qualitative interviews both with women in the context of flight_migration and with local labor market actors in different municipalities in East and West Germany. Biographical interviews with mainly refugee Muslims serve to ascertain the subjective orientation and action schemes of women, while interviews with employees in organizations, job centers and providers of labor market measures as well as civil society actors provide the perspective of institutions and professional actors in the field. The evaluation follows the grounded theory method in biographical interviews, while the expert interviews are subject to a content analysis.