RUB Research School

Associate Doctoral Candidate Inga Zimmermann

Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV)

(Hu)Man Security – Organizational Perspectives on Forced Migration and Masculinity in Shared Accommodations in German Municipalities

During the summer of 2015, approximately 840,000 asylum seekers arrived in Germany (BAMF 2016). Resulting from a global humanitarian crisis, in Germany, this period has often been referred to as the “summer of migration” or the “refugee crisis”. Thereafter, public debates, media reporting and political discourses addressed, on the one hand, a “welcome culture” towards refugees in general and, on the other hand, highlighted the potential of a security risk arising from male refugees in particular, who represent the overwhelming majority of asylum seekers in Germany.
This present research establishes the current situation of this group of men living in shared accommodations in German municipalities. It applies the individual-centered and holistic concept of human security (first adapted by UNDP in 1994), denominated here by myself as (hu)man security. More specifically, this study focuses on the behaviour of non-governmental organizations and takes a organizational sociological approach in analyzing their options in catering to the needs of refugees.
Therefore, I investigate on the role of masculinity construction(s) influencing the behavior of organizations involved in refugee assistance. With this objective, and assuming that the organizational performance impacts on the (hu)man security, two hypotheses are made: Firstly, factual, political and societal changes since 2015 have affected the (organizational) masculinity constructions negatively and have therefore influences the situation for male refugees in Germany, and, secondly, masculinity constructions have equally generated a behavioral change in organizations over the same period.
Likewise, this research combines both semi-structured qualitative interviews and focus groups with organizational personnel and male residents of two chosen municipal refugee accommodations with a structural analysis of housing and protection standards and asylum policies, municipal politics and legal changes in a selected time frame from 2015 until 2018.
In the outcome, I describe existing masculinity constructions within organizations which are involved in refugee assistance and identify their impacts on both legitimating their strategies and organizational performance towards accommodating male refugees.
Furthermore, the results of this study enable the detection of potential organizational insecurities. It recommends a careful, gender-sensitive organizational planning and policy development at municipal level.
Consequently, new findings help to address current challenges and seek persistent solutions for improvement of everyday life not only for male refugees, yet, German society.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ludger Pries

About Inga Zimmermann

Inga Zimmermann is a doctoral research fellow of the Gerda Henkel Foundation within the project ‘Organisational Perspectives on Human Security Standards for Refugees in Germany’. She studied in Marburg, Helsinki, Aarhus, Hamburg and Kennesaw (Georgia, US) and holds a B.A. in Social Sciences from Philipps-University Marburg and a M.A. in Peace and Security Studies from Hamburg University.
Her research interests are transnational migration and conflict, forced migration, labour migration, and gender studies. Previously, she has gained professional experiences in refugee assistance on international and federal level, development cooperation and market research. Her PhD project deals with the organizational perspective on the situation of male refugees.

  • Forced Migration, Refugee Protection and Participation
  • Transnational Migration and Conflict
  • Humanitarian Action and Gender
since 04/2017 PhD-Scholarship by Gerda-Henkel Stiftung within the research project “Organisational
Perspectives on Human Security Standards for Refugees in Germany”
04/2015 Conference grant of the Center for Conflict Management, Kennesaw State University
(Georgia, USA), 5th Conflict Management Conference on ‘Livelihoods,
Sustainability, and Conflict‘
02/2015– 05/2015 HamburgGlobal-Stipendium (funded by German Academic Exchange Service
(DAAD)) for a research stay at Kennesaw State University
01/2009-06/2009 ERASMUS-Scholarship, University of Helsinki
since 04/2017 Project Associate / PhD candidate, Institute for International
Law on Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV), Ruhr University Bochum (RUB)
05/2016 – 03/2017 Supra-regional Coordination Point On Complaint Management,
Refugee Council North Rhine-Westphalia in Bochum (Germany)
05/2016 Consultant, German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), Pristina
06/2012 – 09/2014 Senior Sales Coordinator, Lightspeed GMI, Hamburg


  • Rosenow-Williams, K., Zimmermann, I., Bergedieck, A. (in publishing process), ‘Human Security Perspectives on Refugee Children in Germany’.
  • Zimmermann, I., Rosenow-Williams, K., Behmer-Prinz, K., Bergedieck, A. (unpublished), ‘Refugee Protection Standards in Transition – Studying German NGOs and Public Administrations’.
  • Zimmermann, I., Röing, T. (unpublished), ‘One´s Security, Our Security, One Security?’, Konferenzbeitrag, Workshop: Changing Societies: Migration, Integration, Participation, WZB Berlin Social Science Center /Fondation Maison des sciences de l‘homme (FMSH), Paris, 4.-5.11.17.
  • Zimmermann, I., 2015, ‘Turkish students visiting the European Union and their perception of Europe: a comparison between two cases, Aarhus and Hamburg.’, Konferenzpapier, Aarhus University.
  • Zimmermann, I., 2010, ‘Merle Vetterlein, Konfliktregulierung durch power-sharing- Modelle: das Fallbeispiel der Republik Makedonien, Buchbesprechung, in: S+F Security and Peace (No. 28) 4/2010.
since 08/2012, deputy editorial board and author
06/2015 – 10/2017 myvoice-project. changing perspective
10/2015 – 06/2016 volunteering at transit refugee camps in Presevo,
Serbia, and Tabanovce, Macedonia
05/2015 – 06/2016 volunteering at Welcome-to-Barmbek, refugee initiative
in Hamburg
  • Netzwerk Flucht- und Flüchtlingsforschung
  • Flüchtlingsrat Nordrhein-Westfalen e.V.
  • Alumni Association of the master´s programme Peace and Security Studies (MPS), Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy, University of Hamburg
  • Europa macht Schule („Europe meets School“) e.V.
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