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Migration and sociation (Vergesellschaftung) beyond the national paradigm. A relational history of the Ruhr Poles, 1860–1950

This project treats the Ruhr Valley from 1860 to 1950 as a region of growing European mobility and contact. The history of the migrants is so closely linked with the history of society in the Ruhr region that both can be understood only in their relationship to one another and in their mutual interdependencies. Governmental and local representatives, entrepreneurs and representatives of the churches, mobile and sedentary people made claims about the nearness and distance of “foreign” and “Prussian Poles,” “Masurians” and “Germans in terms of people” (Volksdeutsche), and in doing so, they also negotiated “own” values and norms. Methodologically, the project shall provide a contribution to a new conception of the societal and the role of migration and difference for it.