Configurations of Islam and Muslims in Germany on a local level

Third party funded individual grant

Project Details

Project leader:
Prof. Dr. Georg Glasze

Project members:
Jan Winkler
Dr. Jörn Thielmann
PD Dr. Thomas Schmitt

Contributing FAU Organisations:
Lehrstuhl für Bürgerliches Recht, Internationales Privatrecht und Rechtsvergleichung
Lehrstuhl für Geographie (Kulturgeographie und Orientforschung)

Funding source: DFG-Einzelförderung / Sachbeihilfe (EIN-SBH)
Start date: 01/01/2016
End date: 31/10/2018
Extension Date: 30/06/2019

Abstract (technical / expert description):

The project is based on the observation that the identities Muslim and Islam are increasingly negotiated and becoming significant categories at a local and municipal level in Germany, thus being affected and shaped, that is, configurated, in new ways within specific local and urban contexts. It is the local level, where Islam becomes most visible and an issue of local policies and administration, where a part of the population is addressed as muslim, where the relations between muslims and non-muslims are configurated in interactions. The project is addressing a research gap, as the scientific debate, so far, has tended to concentrate either on the national level, if dealing with Islam-related representations and policies, or exclusively on individual identity-building processes. On the basis of two detailed case-studies, Erlangen and Osnabrück, and in the course of four closely interlocked work-packages (WPs) the project is going to analyse comparatively two local configurations of Muslims and Islam, integrating the local perspective in a wider German context. At first, WP1 scrutinizes central moments of supra-local discourses and decisions on Muslims and Islam in Germany, framing the case studies. At the same time, it asks if and to what extend Muslims and Islam are becoming objects of municipal politics and administration practices in German major cities. WP2 analyzes specific local paths of development in Erlangen and Osnabrück from 1970 until today and asks, when, where and in what ways Muslims and Islam had become visible or had been made visible on a local level. WP3 takes a more ethnographic perspective, and will examine current practices and places of everyday configurations of Muslims and Islam. It explores how the processes of becoming a Muslim subject (and of reshaping such identities) are connected to local contexts, e.g. to a locally organized Islam or local communal politics. Here, it is of interest that new Islamic-theological Institutes were just recently established in both case-studies, so that WP3 is also asking for the conditions and effects of that academic institutionalization of Islam at a local level. WP4 finally further contextualizes the case-studies by examining additional# German local contexts. Through the application of this overall wide perspective the project promises new insights for the socio-political debate on Islam in Germany that could also be relevant for the practice of municipal politics. The project locates itself within a dynamic and multi-disciplinary discussion on the (new) meanings of religion for the arrangement of urban, post-secular societies and communal politics of identity that has been a predominantly English-speaking debate so far. For the German scientific context, it thus enriches the fields of Social and Urban Geography as well as the fields of a Geography of Migration and Religion and respective neighbouring disciplines.

External Partners

Universität Osnabrück


Schmitt, T., & Glasze, G. (2018). Understanding the geographies of religion and secularity: on the potentials of a broader exchange between geography and the (post-)secularity debate. Geographica Helvetica, 78, 285-300.
Winkler, J. (2017). Freunde führen einander – Der kommunalpolitische Dialog mit dem „Islam“ im Modus einer Gouvernementalität der Freundschaft. Geographica Helvetica, 72, 303-316.

Last updated on 2019-08-03 at 13:10