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Acionability in Refugee Accommodation in Germany

Principal Researcher


September 2016 - November 2021

Description of the project

During their asylum procedures, refugees in Germany are given accommodation. However, there is a wide variety in the reality of housing: from gyms or containers over old military barracks to well-equipped houses or single apartments in conventional apartment houses.
Due to the rising numbers of refugees seeking asylum in Germany, a lack of infrastructure and accommodation became obvious at the latest in 2015. While in 2012/2013, as a consequence of the refugee movement and protests in Germany in those years, the perspective of refugees and their accommodation were (more) visible in the public discourse, with the worsening supply conditions and bottleneck of the past years, their perspectives and situation have faded into the background.
However, the question of accommodation, supply and integration of refugees is central for a democratic society. Refugee homes generate a specific social structure that has a deep impact on the refugees` identity and agency. For that reason, this project focuses on the subjective perspectives and experiences of refugees in regard to their housing situation. The aim of the project is to produce a differentiated and comprehensive picture of refugee accommodation in Germany from a (1) spatial-sociological, (2) subject-theoretical (3) action-theoretical perspective.

The project has three main lines of question:

I. Production of space

  • Which specific spaces are constituted in the context of refugee accommodation?

II. Production of subjects

  • Which types of subjects are fostered in certain arrangements of space?

III. Production of agency

  • How does a specific constitution of space and subjectivity affect the agency of the refugees?
  • Which strategies do the refugees, employees of the refugee homes, volunteers and full-time supporters of the refugees carry out in order to expand their agency?

These questions will be answered through a multiple-method study:

  • semi-structured interviews and informal talks with (groups of) refugees, employees of refugee homes, volunteers, professional charities, representatives of the authorities,
  • participant observation,
  • participatory research methods,
  • expert interviews,
  • document analyses.

If you have any questions or if you are interested in participating in the project, please do not hesitate to contact Judith Vey by email, vey@ztg.tu-berlin.de or telephone, 030-31426066.


Project Descriptions in other languages:




  • Sauer, Madeleine; Vey, Judith (2019): Sozialräumliche Integration von Geflüchteten im ländlichen Raum. In: Wissen schafft Demokratie 5/2019, 52-61. Available online
  • Vey, Judith (2019): Unterbringung von Flüchtenden im autoritären Festungskapitalismus. Dynamiken, Eigenlogiken, Widersprüche. In: Carina Book, Nikolai
    Huke, Sebastian Klauke, Olaf Tietje (Hg.): Alltägliche Grenzziehungen. Das Konzept der imperialen Lebensweise, Externalisierung und exklusive Solidarität, Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot, 168-185.
  • Vey, Judith (2018): Leben im Tempohome. Qualitiative Studie zur Unterbringungssituation von Flüchtenden in temporären Gemeinschaftsunterkünften in Berlin. ZTG-discussion paper. Available online
  • Vey, Judith (2018): Zwischen Empowerment, Lückenbüßerei und neoliberaler Aktivierung des Selbst. Ehrenamtliches Engagement und Regelversorgung in der bundesdeutschen Flüchtlingsversorgung. In: Sabrina Zajak/Ines Gottschalk (Hg.): Flüchtlingshilfe als neues Engagementfeld. Chancen und Herausforderungen des Engagements für Geflüchtete. Baden-Baden: Nomos, 77-98.
  • Sauer, Madeleine; Vey, Judith (2017): Herausforderungen in der ehrenamtlichen Flüchtlingsarbeit. Zum Verhältnis von Geflüchteten und Unterstützungsgruppen. In: Forschungsjournal Soziale Bewegungen 30/3, S. 67-77 (Abstract).
  • Sauer, Madeleine; Vey, Judith (2017): Ehrenamt in der Flüchtlingshilfe: Zum Verhältnis von Willkommensinitiativen, staatlicher Regelversorung und Geflüchteten in Brandenburg. In: Stephan Lessenich (Hg.): Geschlossene Gesellschaften. Verhandlungen des 38. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Bamberg 2016 Available online



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