Matthias Hannemann

Barriers to attracting international workers in structurally weak regions: Emotions, political identities, right-wing populist resentments and corporate practices: the example of East Thuringia.
Matthias Hannemann Matthias Hannemann Image: Privat

Personal Information:

Matthias Hannemann
Löbdergraben 32, 07743 Jena
Raum 120
Telefon: +49 3641 9-48838
matthias.hannemann@uni-jena.de
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Research interests related to diaspora:

  • Migration and integration
  • Flight, exile and trauma
  • Right-wing populism, resentment and group-focused enmity
  • Internationalization of firms and networks

Provisional working title of the doctoral project: Barriers to attracting international workers in structurally weak regions: Emotions, political identities, right-wing populist resentments and corporate practices: the example of East Thuringia.

Abstract:

Matthias Hannemann researches interdependencies of emotion-driven regional political identities, resentment towards minorities, corporate practices and regional development in the context of labor migration in structurally weak regions.

It is often argued that the adverse effects of demographic change and associated deficits in economic development in rural and structurally weak areas could be remedied or at least alleviated by the inclusion of migrants. In addition to positive economic effects, primarily with a view to the steadily worsening shortage of skilled workers and labor, it is hoped that the inclusion of international workers will also lead to a higher degree of social diversity, which will strengthen values such as openness and tolerance and thus contribute to an convergence of living conditions between rural and urban areas in the medium term.

However, the implicit connection between the fields of integration and regional development inherent in these approaches is a simple symbiotic solution only at first glance.       

Current debates in human geography, especially on Left Behind Places, reveal social and political trends in many rural and structurally weak regions that clearly contradict this supposed solution in practice: In many of these regions, in addition to a comparatively high level of discontent, there is also strong resentment toward immigrants and other minorities as well as a high level of support for right-wing populist parties and initiatives. The external perception of these resentments, e.g. in migrant communities, in turn causes adverse image effects, also with a view to attracting labor and skilled workers.

This also applies to the study region of Eastern Thuringia and, not least, to regional firms. Using a mix of methods, consisting of standardized surveys of managing directors of regional firms as well as guideline-based interviews with managing directors, employees and experts from the business environment, quantitative and qualitative data on emotions and resentments in society and at different firm levels as well as resulting practices in firms and networks are collected in order to analyze which region-specific emotionale factors shape these attitudes and practices and how they affect the attractiveness of the business location.

Keywords: Social polarization, group-focused enmity, political identities, peripheries, right-wing populism, regional development

Project period: 01/2019-09/2022

Funding: Free state of Thuringia, European Social Fund (ESF)