Beyond Migration

Counter to the mainstream media portrayal of this protest along the lines of “Turks being expelled from Kreuzberg,” we interpret the resistance that is being articulated at Kottbusser Tor as reaching far beyond the protest of a particular group. In fact, not all people living at “Kotti” are people who migrated to Berlin from Turkey, most of whom have become Germans by now anyway. But this is not even the point. Rather, this protest addresses rental conditions for all of us, and the conditions of living and collective life in a society constituted by migration that are integral to this city. Which is precisely why this protest has a lot to say about Berlin’s future – in the best possible sense.

We are excited by the fact that this protest will also touch migration studies. Especially because this convergence signals an end to the kind of migration studies that seeks to identify an ‘ethnic minority’ whose special character and ‘willingness’ to integrate itself (read code for assimilation) is being probed and problematized. What insights can be gained from these old paradigms of ethnicity, cultural identity and integration/assimilation? Very few – the protest at Kotti makes this perfectly clear. We do not need yet another version of ‘research about immigrants’ in this city, what we need is a kind of research that has understood that this society is unthinkable without migration.