Approaching ‘the social‘ as an outcome of interdependencies of classifications, narratives and discourses on the one hand and social practices and institutional contexts on the other, our research rejects essentialist views on ‘culture’ In this endeavour, we build on social constructivism, praxeology, Foucauldian perspectives on subjectivities and theories of hegemony.
Our research focuses on transnational mobility within the enlarged European Union and on cross-border migration between non-EU member states and the EU. It goes beyond the national lens by avoiding a deficit-oriented approach to human movements and develop critical perspectives.
We understand cultural heritage as a configuration of cultural, social and material elements that produce social belongings. This perspective includes the reflection of great societal transformations, like (post-)colonialism, capitalism, state socialism, border-crossing migrations and globalization. Thus, doing heritage studies means asking questions regarding subjectivities and positionalities that are (or are not) reflected in legitimized and institutionalized heritage.
Theorizing the production of unequal life chances in the context of globalized and transnationalized social relations requires new conceptual tools. To that end, our research combines a cross-border perspective on social inequalities with intersectional studies, which consider ‘gender’, ‘ethnicity’/‘race’, ‘class’, ‘health’/‘disability’, ‘age’/‘life course’ and ‘space’ as ‘axes of inequality’ that play a crucial role in the unequal distribution of valued social resources across borders.