Faime Alpagu
ÖAW/IFK_Junior Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. October 2019 bis 30. June 2020

Faime Alpagu


Migration Narratives Juxtaposed: A Sociological Analysis of Photos, Letters,and Biographies of "Guest Workers" from Turkey Living in Austria


The project centers on photographs and letters sent by “guest workers” to family members in Turkey between 1960 and 1989. These primary materials are complemented by official documents and recently conducted biographic-narrative interviews. The project follows a reconstructive approach by triangulating interpretative methods: biographical case reconstruction, visual segment analysis, and figurative hermeneutics. Analysis is undertaken via a case-study approach according to the principles of theoretical sampling. The aim is to reveal the complex interactions between different modes of expression (visual/verbal), time relations (now/then), and spatial constellations (here/there).


Faime Alpagu studied Sociology in Istanbul and Vienna. Until 2017, she worked on various academic projects and as a freelance interpreter (Kurdish and Turkish) for organizations such as Vienna Women’s Refuges, Hemayat – Center for Survivors of Torture and War, and the Diakonie Refugee Service. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Vienna. Her dissertation project is funded by a doctoral scholarship from the Austrian Academy of Sciences and received the 2016 Dissertation Award for Research on Migration from the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Additionally, she is working on the research project “Translating Wor(l)ds: Reconstructing Biographical Experiences and Competences of Young Refugees at Schools in Austria” in the Department of Educatio nat the University of Vienna. Her current research areas are migration/refugee studies, biographical research, visual sociology, memory, and interpretive social research.


“'I am doing well in Austria', Biography, photography and migration memories of a 1970s guest worker”, in: Rassegna Italiana di Sociologia, LX, 1, 2019, pp.47–75.


  • Lecture

Persons from Turkey who came to Austria between the 1960s and the late 1980s are roundly classified as “guest workers”. Moreover, they are visually represented either for illustrative purposes or as a stereotype. This presentation aims to provide a long-term perspective on migration and to apply a new and innovative methodology in the framework of a more differentiated migration research.