Getting Respect in Germany: How Turkish People* React to Racism and Discrimination

The project "Getting Respect in Germany: How Turkish People* in Berlin React to Racism and Discrimination" takes place in the framework of the racism monitoring project of the German Center for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM). The aim is to analyze and make visible racist attitudes and racist actions and to work out structures and modes of action. Thus, racism research in Germany is to be further established institutionally providing research infrastructure for many other organizations and institutions.

Building on Michele Lamont's book Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination in the United States, Brazil, and Israel (Princeton University Press 2016), this research project aims to fill in the gap in the literature on groupness among Turkish immigrant communities in Berlin. Our project aims to contribute to the comparative work of Harvard professor Michele Lamont’s study which she and her colleagues analyzed how specific national contexts affect experiences and responses to stigmatization and discrimination and boundary drawing among groups. The strength of our study is to show the nuances of responses to racism in Turkish communities in Berlin while highlighting the complex cultural dynamics of immigration waves since the Guest Worker immigration started in 1961. We are particularly focusing on how Turkish immigrants who send their children to private high schools (Gymnasium) justify their decisions for their choice of schools and draw boundaries to other Turkish immigrants who send their children to public schools.  We will examine the collective & individual strategies both in intergenerational and transgenerational context and aim at identifying the needs of Turkish immigrants in responding to racism. 

The central research questions are:

1. What are the impacts of citizenship and migration status, ethnicity, race, class, religion, (dis)ability, chronic illness, age, gender identity and sexual orientation over Turkish people’s reaction to racist incidents in Berlin?

2. How do groupness and other culturally and politically available repertoires, such as social movements, becoming involved in community organizations enable or prevent Turkish people’s responses to racism in Berlin?

3. What are the tools that Turkish people in Berlin have at their disposal to cope with discrimination, stigmatization, and racism?


We will conduct 15 face-to-face interviews in order to see the variance in a) citizenship status b) socio-economic status, including education c) gender d) age. For practical reasons, we have to limit our research to people who define themselves as „Turkish“ and live within the city of Berlin. We aim to find historical, socio-economic, institutional elements; cultural repertoires and groupness as dimensions that affect the responses of people who define themselves as „Turkish“ in the broader sense (these people can be from heterogeneous communities, but they have to define themselves as „from Turkey or Türkiyeli“ in the research). The results of this study will be used to contribute to policy developments and for further comparative purposes (Germans, Jews and Eastern Europeans in Germany).

Project lead

Prof. Dr Gökce Yurdakul, Professor of Sociology, Head of Department of Social Sciences, Chair Diversity and Social Conflict, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Tunay Altay, PhD candidate, Diversity and Social Conflict, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Expert Consultant to the Project

Michele Lamont, Professor of Sociology and of African and African American Studies and the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies at Harvard University. The co-author of the book: Getting Respect: Responding to Stigma and Discrimination in the United States, Brazil, and Israel (Princeton University Press 2016).




09/2020 - 12/2020


Prof. Dr. Gökce Yurdakul

Prof. Dr. Gökce Yurdakul

Leiterin der Abteilung "Wissenschaftliche Grundfragen"; Professorin für Diversity and Social Conflict, HU Berlin

Tel: +49 (0)30 2093-1917
Fax: +49 (0)30 2093-4519

Stefania Vittori

Stefania Vittori

Studentische Mitarbeiterin im Projekt "Getting Respect: How Turkish People* in Berlin Respond to Racism and Discrimination"

Tunay Altay

Tunay Altay

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeitende* im Projekt "Getting respect in Germany: How Turkish People* React to Racism and Discrimination"