Between Recognition and Discrimination

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Abstract

Students from immigrant families are targeted by universities’ diversity management in Germany. Being recognized per se is a positive aspect, if it was not often combined with a perception of deficiency, for example concerning academic performance or high dropout rate. The qualitative sociological study, which this article is based on, asks about the students’ perspective and reconstructs relevant experiences of their university life. By conducting group discussions and narrative interviews with minority students, narrations of their own experiences with social inequality were encouraged. The material was then analyzed using the documentary method. Therefore, it is possible to examine effects of social inequality categories on students, as well as their coping strategies. After summarizing the state of the art research about minority students and discussing the relevant theoretical framework, a short outline of the research interest and methodological approach is given. Based on one group discussion, preliminary findings of the study are highlighted. It can be shown that female Muslim students are facing marginalization inside academia, based on the intersection of multiple social inequality categories. The findings show that they develop diverse coping strategies and an orientation of educational upward mobility.