Faime Alpagu
ÖAW ifk Junior Fellow

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

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 Refuge, 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. In 2019 she was a Junior Visiting Fellow at The Institute for Human Sciences (IWM) in 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, S. 47–75.

Vortrag von Faime Alpagu in St. Arbogast: Bedeutung der Arbeitsmigration für "GastarbeiterInnen" und ihre Folgegeneration - Eine biographische und visuelle Perspektive

Im Rahmen der Vortragsreihe 2019 - "Was verletzt meine Seele?" im Bildungshaus St. Arbogast/Vorarlberg wird ÖAW/IFK_Fellow Faime Alpagu einen Vortrag halten, der sich aus einer biografischen und visuellen Perspektive mit der Frage auseinandersetzt, welche Erfahrungen die sogenannten GastarbeiterInnen gemacht haben und was die daraus resultierenden Folgen für sie und ihre Folgegeneration sind. 

Termin Do, 31.10.2019, 19 Uhr
Kosten freier Eintritt
Ort Bildungshaus St. Arbogast

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Das Exil von ÖsterreicherInnen in der Türkei 1933-1945 und das Exil von Menschen aus der Türkei in Österreich im Kontext von Arbeitsmigration und politischer Verfolgung.

Gespräch mit Faime Alpagu (ÖAW/IFK_Junior Fellow), Alev Korun und Peter Pirker

21. November 2019, 19.00 Uhr Republikanischer Club Rockhgasse 1 1010 Wien



Faime Alpagu: Migration Narratives

Migration shapes society: »In my research, I want to draw attention to the complexity of this phenomenon«, says Faime Alpagu from the Vienna Doctoral School of Social Sciences. Watch the video to find out more about her research project.

13 January 2020
  • 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.