Dissertation project

Dissertation project: Continuities of a stigma? Effects of National Socialist persecution on the acting and memory structures of the descendants of persecuted women

My doctoral project deals with the effects of the National Socialist persecution of women under the charge of "asociality " and "criminality" on the action and memory structures of their family descendants. To this day, it can be recognized that these “marginalized prisoner groups” are exposed to far-reaching social stigmatization within society and also marginalization to the point of invisibility in the field of collective memory in Germany.
This can in part be traced back to the change in the debate on the politics of remembrance about the recognition of people persecuted as “professional criminals” and “asocials” as victims of National Socialism since 2018. Due to the growing interest in these groups of the persecuted people, it quickly became clear that there is a lack of a sociological analysis of the effects of their persecution experience on the following generations.
This research gap is to be processed within the framework of my biographical case study and discourse analysis. The main focus of the work is the question of what influence the persecution past of female family members has on the biographies and the structures of action and memory of the descendants. By means of biographical-narrative interviews and the implementation of family sculptures, the intergenerational effects of the history of persecution are analysed in the context of case reconstructions. Further research questions are: How does the history of persecution, but also the lack of social recognition, affect the family memory? How do the biographers deal with the supposed “asociality” or “criminality” of the persecuted female family members? The aim of my project is also to show which discourses about the history of persecution and the embedding of one's own family history are effective in these families and how the descendants incorporate them into their own biographical self-image: Which discursive patterns of interpretation about femininity and deviance or delinquency can be found within the family?
In addition to answering the questions mentioned, this work should also contribute with a sociological approach to expanding the previously mainly historical research on the persecution of people on the basis of social-racist criteria under National Socialism.