Biographische Risiken im Migrations- und Aufstiegsprozess : Vom „pursuit of happiness“

In ihrer Doktorarbeit untersucht Ariana Kellmer Biographien von Menschen, die nicht auf den Schutz eines starken und reichen Wohlfahrtsstaates hoffen können, weil sie in arme Familien im Globalen Süden geboren wurden.
The institutionalization and individualization of life courses has led to the idea that individuals are responsible for their fate. This view is linked to meritocratic interpretations of social inequality, according to which poverty is to be regarded as a just reward for lacking (educational) efforts. Meritocratic discourse and the individualization of life courses hide the fact that individuals suffer a collective fate, too, such as mass unemployment. The article focuses on migrants who come from poor families in the Global South and have reached middle and upper class positions in the Global North. Narrations of these extremely exceptional biographies confirm that individual emancipatory aspirations can be found even without their institutional precondition, the national welfare state. In contrast to Northern individualization theories the findings also show some cases in which individual aspirations represent a collective’s struggle to escape poverty. In that case the migrants accepted existential besides biographical risks in the attempt to give their entire family and neighborhood a biographical perspective.
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