chapter  1
15 Pages

Academic Reception

WithAnne Ring Petersen, Moritz Schramm, Frauke Wiegand

This first chapter of the book sets out to explore the academic reception of the term postmigration and examine the debates on this developing concept. The authors identify three overall approaches or lines of inquiry into its academic reception since roughly 2010: first, the focus on postmigrant subjectivities, mainly referring to descendants of migrants who did not migrate themselves; second, the usage of postmigration as an analytical perspective on society and culture in order to replace what social anthropologist Regina Römhild has termed a ‘migrantology’ (the tendency of academic focus to be limited to ‘migrants’ and their descendants) with a broader perspective on society; and third, the use of the term as a descriptor of contemporary society as ‘postmigrant society’ (Naika Foroutan). While the first approach focuses on subjectivities, the second and third approaches explore ongoing conflicts, ambivalences and negotiations in European societies. The chapter concludes with an examination of different definitions of the postmigrant society and their ability to encompass contemporary phenomena such as new nationalism and political polarization. Here it becomes evident that the prefix ‘post’ does not imply that migration has terminated, but rather that postmigrant societies are inevitably shaped by earlier and ongoing migration and its consequences.