Hybrid European-Muslim Identities (HEYMAT)


150 persons were interviewed using a qualitative questionnaire

Hybrid, e.g. transcultural, bipolar, multi-facetted, identities have become a self-evident part of the life-world in Western countries of immigration. At the same time anti-Muslim attitudes remain at an all-time high over the course of the last decade. This project takes Muslims as an example by which to analyze hybridity through frames of reference within the self which, in the eyes of the mainstream society, are being perceived as antagonistic. Since Muslims in Germany are able to bridge two systems of reference which are being perceived as mutually exclusive in a large part of Europe, the reference group "Muslims" can help in explaining the central attributes of hybridity.

Hybridity appears in situations of cultural crossover, whereby partially antagonistic contents and logics from different cultural, social or religious life-worlds are being shaped into new patterns of thinking and acting. Traditional criteria of belonging are being put into question, a delocalization of identity can be noted. This creates a friction and energy which can cause new boundaries to be drawn, but can also cause a renovation of outdated social structures. Hybrid identity, in the sense of Edward Said, is thereby understood as variable, contextual and constantly changing. A dynamic play of identities develops in a complex structure of multi-belonging.

A transdisciplinary approach combines political science with social psychology, the sociology of religion and communication theory, and enables the establishment of a theoretical frame of analysis. Through it the project will scrutinize the question why people with a Muslim migration background often do not identify Germany/Europe as a home even after many decades of immigration. Moreover, it wants to understand how the reproduction of 'foreignness' and 'othering' over generations can in fact lead to new, dynamic models of identity.

In 2013 the project was extended until 2015.


Prof. Dr. Naika Foroutan

Prof. Dr. Naika Foroutan

Director, Head of the Department "Integration Research and Social Policy"

Fon: +49 (0)30 2093-46255

Dr. Tim Müller

Junior Research Group Leader (assistant professor level)

Fon: +49 (0)30 2093-46264

Dr. Sina Arnold

Dr. Sina Arnold

Former Scientific Managing Director / Member (Post-Doc) of the Department "Integration, Social Networks and Cultural Lifestyles"