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The interdisciplinary research on migration at the Viadrina Center B/ORDERS IN MOTION explores the relationship, constituted by borders, between social orders and migration. The purpose is to gain a deeper understanding of the relevance of borders for regulating human mobility and for migrants’ agency, and the change of the social order resulting from it. We are interested in how borders are becoming a method for categorizing and classifying people – for example, in terms of their background, culture, ethnic group, gender, education, class, and utility to the labor market – in order to channel their mobility and to assign them specific spatial, social, and temporal positions within an order. In this way, state borders operate as semipermeable membranes that open up access and rights to some while refusing them to others.

In this context, borders are not to be understood solely in political-territorial terms. Instead, it is also about social and discursive borders as well as administrative or legal barriers that result in the inclusion and exclusion of migrants by the state and within society. Even if the function of controls on persons has ceased to exist within the EU and political-territorial borders seem to be less effective, migrants encounter multiple successive barriers even beyond the state borders.

Of particular interest to our approach is the question of how spatial, social, and temporal dimensions of borders intertwine and create liminal spaces or ‘gray zones’ here. For example, territorial borders can influence the speed of mobility in temporal terms and can mean that migrants have to wait. For political reasons, transit centers create different time-spaces for the various people housed there. Borders can also open up spaces of violence in which people are without rights for indeterminate periods. Other examples of borders that can be localized include urban and rural residential areas that differ in terms of their varying infrastructures or the social status of their residents.

For our research, it is also of interest how borders between various orders either overlap or conflict with each other and how this can impact migrants and their positions in systems of order. This is the case, for example, when nation-states’ sovereign claims collide with universal human rights.


Ambivalenzen der Europäisierung. Prekäre Ordnungen Europas in Geschichte und Gegenwart
Bare life and the EU border regime. A cultural sociological inquiry into the construction of subjectivity, othering and the displacement of violence at the EU borders
Borders and Bordering since 2015: Refugees, Civil Society and Transnational Mobility from Turkey to Germany
Cluster "Tough Choices: Dilemmas and Decision in Peacemaking"
Data Matters: Sociotechnical Challenges of European Migration and Border Control (DATAMIG)
Developing a new curriculum in Global Migration, Diaspora and Border Studies in East-Central Europe (GLocalEAst)
Ethnicity in Motion. Transculturalization processes among European immigrant minorities in Brazil
Flüchtlinge im deutsch-sowjetischen Grenzraum
From Empire to Republic: “Study in Germany” as a Tool of Modernization in Turkey and China (1871-1929)
GENDERING ASYLUM INFRASTRUCTURES Mobilisation of sensitivity to gender, sexual orientation and violence in post-2014 Europe
German Speech Islands in Motion: Crossing Language Boundaries in the German National Rajon of the Altai Region (Russia)
History on the Margins: Representations of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and Slavery in Germanlanguage Schoolbooks
Kontrollmaßnahmen in entgrenzten Arbeitsmärkten
Language and the Emergence of Transnational Social Spaces
Language Making: Social conceptions of languages and their boundaries
Lusophone use of language at the time of the Portuguese sailors ('Rios de Guiné' and Cape Verde Islands)
Post-national Acts of Identity – Language Ideologies in Multilingual Belize
Representations of space and borders in the Austrian public discourse on asylum and in narratives of refugees
The Globalized Periphery: Atlantic Commerce, Socioeconomic and Cultural Change in Central Europe (circa 1680-1850)
The Western Balkans – A 'Double Transit' Room - Solidarities, boundary drawings and boundary transgressions between migrants and local inhabitants in the puffer and waiting zones of the EU
Transnational Families, Farms and Firms: Migrant Entrepreneurs in Kosovo and Serbia Since the 1960s
Worldness behind Cemeteries. Stories of the Absent: German-Jewish Minority in Southeast Banat