Research

Encounters and interactions in the context of a globalized and globalizing world make up the focus of my research. I am interested in how contemporary societies and their heterogenous actors deal with dynamics of globalization and transculturalization in their respective everyday lives. The associated processes of governance and the negotiations of responsibilities are topics which I address in various research projects. My research is situated at the intersection of European ethnology, cultural anthropology and practice theory.

Project | Making Algae (In-)Visible: Tourism, Responsibility and Governance along the Caribbean Coast of Mexico

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Climate change creates new relations between the local and global, new practices of governance emerge, and questions of responsibility are raised. Ethnographic research can show how actors on the ground deal with these key questions on a daily basis. In this project I examine questions of responsibility-making and governance in the context of anthropogenic environmental change ethnographically by studying the Mexican Caribbean coast. Sargasso algae, as can bee seen on the photo above, has been washed up in vast amounts for several years along the country's touristified coastal zones. The algae leads to beach degradation, decreased tourism, and a pronounced health risk to humans. The question I address with my research is: How is anthropogenic environmental change governed and negotiated along the Caribbean coast with and through anthropogenic environmental change in actors’ everyday lives? 

Project | Young Refugees in the EU: Age Negotiations and Adult Minors

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More and more young people are fleeing to Europe. After their arrival, local authorities in the country of arrival usually carry out an age assessment to determine one's chronological age, such as through an x-ray of the wrist bone. This is conducted as  reception conditions and refugees' legal rights are linked to the status of being viewed as an 'unaccompanied minor' or as an adult. Along the migration movements of young people who fled from Somalia, my research demonstrates how the category of the 'unaccompanied minor' is created and used in Malta. The central focus here is the negotiation of age between the young refugees and institutional actors. My book Junge Geflüchtete an der Grenze. Eine Ethnografie zu Altersaushandlungen is in press with Campus (Frankfurt am Main) and is available from mid-December 2020. I illustrate the diverse ways in which young refugees experience and navigate their classification as minors in the European border regime. For more details on further publications  based on this research project, please see my CV.