Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Berliner Institut für empirische Integrations- und Migrationsforschung (BIM)

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Berliner Institut für empirische Integrations- und Migrationsforschung (BIM) | Aktuelles | Termine | „Political Demography: Family Change and Contemporary Gender and Immigration Politics“ – Talk with Myra Marx Ferree

„Political Demography: Family Change and Contemporary Gender and Immigration Politics“ – Talk with Myra Marx Ferree


„Political Demography: Family Change and Contemporary Gender and Immigration Politics“

DeZIM Talk with Professor Myra Marx Ferree (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Time: Monday, 15th July 2024, 06:00 – 08:00 pm
Place: DeZIM-Saal, 3. OG, Mauerstrasse 76, 10117 Berlin

Registration: here untill 13th July

6:00 – 6:10 pm: Welcome and Introduction by Professor Kathrin Zippel and Professor Gökce Yurdakul 
6:10 – 7:00 pm: Keynote by Professor Myra Marx Ferree
7:00 – 7:10 pm: Commentary by Professor Ilse Lenz 
7:10 – 7:30 pm: Moderated Discussion by Dr. Seyran Bostanci
7:30 – 8:00 pm: Conclusion and farewell with drinks

This talk by Professor Myra Marx Ferree (University of Wisconsin-Madison) advances the concept of political demography as a complement to the concept of the political economy in order to emphasize the nation-state as a hybrid concept, with both the nation and the state as resting on particular institutional footings. While the political economy emphasizes the state’s relation to institutions of production of goods and services, political demography stresses the nation’s relationship to the families and communities that secure reproduction, not only of the physical bodies of the new generation but in reproducing a societal sense of identity and belonging. Families as lived and the changing understanding of family as an institution are respectively the material and cultural bedrock of political demography. 

Membership in a nation (citizenship) as well as in a gender reflect battles over the political relations of "belongingness" expressed in both immigration and transgender politics.  Material changes in the lived experience of families and cultural changes in the institutional legitimacy of family as the root of the nation and the seat of gendered difference are today key factors contributing to polarizing voters, political parties, and states.

The parties of the "new left" and "new right" are more responsive to the ongoing changes of political demography than to the conventional political-economy division of left and right. The "new right" resistance to pluralism in the nation and to de-gendering reproductive relations faces off against a “new left” expansion of democratic values and decision-making processes that challenge nationalism-as-usual.

Like the differences and changes in capitalism that scholars of the political-economy have emphasized, there is crucial variation among countries, generations, and religions in how the material and cultural conditions of their reproduction shape their politics. Both immigration and gender as explicit political issues are inseparably linked in the political demography on which both rest and which offers rich targets for change to both sides. 

The event will provide a platform to engage with Prof. Myra Marx Ferree’s insights on political demography, exploring the interplay between family dynamics and political polarization. Following her keynote Prof. Ilse Lenz will offer a commentary based on her longlasting research on gender politics.


Myra Marx Ferree, Alice H. Cook professor emerita of sociology of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the 2024 recipient of the Harvard University Centennial Medal conferred by its graduate school on alumnae/alumni of particular distinction in their field.  Ferree’s contributions to gender theory and empirical research in the sociology of gender for which this award was conferred span the areas of family studies, sociology of organizations, feminism and social movement politics that are together the guiding concerns of this talk as well. Ferree is the author of approximately a hundred articles, chapters and essays across these subareas, as well as Varieties of Feminism: German Gender Politics in Global Perspective. She has won the Jesse Bernard Award of the American Sociological Association (ASA) and the Victoria Schuck Award of the American Political Science Association (APSA), a career commendation from the ASA section on Race, Gender and Class, and a distinguished lecturer award from the National Council on Family Relations. She has served as the Vice President of the ASA and associate editor of its flagship journal, the American Sociological Review.

lse Lenz is professor emerita for social structure / gender at the Faculty of Social Science, Ruhr University in Bochum. She has published on intersectionality in work, social movements and feminism in comparative perspective. She has a singular profile comparing Western and East Asian societies, especially German and Japan. She published standard works on feminism in Germany (2010) and in Japan (2023). Presently she researches on the transformation of the intersectional and gender order in welfare states including the change of gender, capitalism and work. Proposing a present fundamental shift towards a flexible gender order, she investigates the reorganization, differentiation and precarisation of work and relationships. Reacting to the changing the global context however, welfare societies follow their own path development for example in Germany, Japan and the USA. Ilse Lenz has published 25 books and about 150 articles in English, German and Japanese. She also served at several universities in Japan and Germany as a guest professor.  

Dr. Seyran Bostancı, Dr. Elias Steinhilper; Prof. Dr. Sabrina Zajak
Moderation: Dr. Seyran Bostancı

The event is Co-Sponsored by: 
Einstein Professor Kathrin Zippel, 
Research Unit Gender Studies 
Institute of Sociology
Freie Universität Berlin

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