• 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.

This presentation questions and challenges the rigorous distinctions made between concepts of migration by comparing two case studies that are regarded as “guest workers”. The paper suggests that the biographers at the period of time, namely labour migrants from Turkey living in Austria, experienced different forms of movement; a blend of economic, political refugee and labour migration. Thus, this presentation aims to take attention to “the receiving-country-bias” that leads us to “ignore the causes and consequences of migration in origin countries” (Castles et al.  2014, 26). Furthermore, Faime Alpagu's objective is to contribute to a differentiated visual representation of migration by drawing attention to the complexities of its depiction.

The presentation is part of a Ph.D. project, which deals with “guest worker” photographs and letters that were sent back to family members in Turkey from the 1960s to the late 1980s. These photos and letters are to be complemented with official documents and recently conducted biographic-narrative interviews. The aim is to reveal the complex interactions between different modes of expression (visual/verbal/written), time relations (now/then) and spatial relations (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 holds for her Ph.D. project a doctorate scholarship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Her project is awarded with the Dissertation Award for Research on Migration 2016 by the Austrian Academy of Sciences. In 2019 she was a Junior Visiting Fellow at The Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in Vienna. Her current research areas are migration/refugees studies, biographical research, visual sociology, memory and interpretive social research and she is an ÖAW/IFK_Junior Fellow.

Weitere Informationen zu FAIME ALPAGU

Ort: IFK