Migrants in East German Subelites

Consensus and Conflict Department

Project head: Prof. Dr. Sabrina Zajak

Running time January 2021 until December 2022
Status Completed project

It is known from elite research that migrants and their descendants as well as East Germans are clearly underrepresented in high leadership positions in politics, business, science and other sectors. This is even more true for women from these social groups.

Following on from the previous project "Social integration without elites?", the project "Migrants in East German sub-elites" deals with an aspect that has hardly been taken into account in elite research so far: people with their own and family migration experience to the GDR or East Germany and their under-representation in East and West German sub-elites.

The project examines the career paths of migrants and their descendants who have achieved promotion to high management positions and focuses on opportunities and obstacles - e.g. individual, structural and institutional discrimination mechanisms, in particular racism - and compares these with career paths, experiences of discrimination and opportunities of migrants and their descendants who migrated to the FRG or West Germany and rose to high management positions there.

The results provide information about career paths as well as opportunities and obstacles for advancement of a social group that is underrepresented in several respects in German sub/elites and top positions. This enables a better understanding of the change of institutions in pluralising societies, their openness and closure as well as their logics of representation. The project also contributes to the interface of migration research and East German research and helps to better understand similarities and differences between intersectional experiences of discrimination of differently marginalised groups.

Funding: Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (Institutional funding)

Cooperation partner:

Dr Lars Vogel and Katharina Heger (University of Leipzig),

Prof. Dr Raj Kollmorgen (Zittau/Görlitz University of Applied Sciences, TRAWOS Institute)