Poverty, Migration, and Development: West Germany and Asia in the 1970s and 1980s

Since the 1970s, poverty has been regarded as a global humanitarian crisis and a key problem in development policy-making, a problem with which not least the Federal Republic of Germany, as an important donor of development aid, has had to grapple. The global rise in refugee numbers, especially in the poorest countries of the “global South,” has further exacerbated the North-South divide.

Concerned with the interconnection of poverty, migration and development aid this project explores three interrelated questions:

  1. How did West German development politics and civil society problematize mass poverty, migration, and development during the transformative period after the “boom”?
  2. To what degree were the Federal Republic's development (aid) policies, which followed a Basic Needs Concept to prevent absolute poverty, linked to the UN initiative of the Federal Foreign Office (1980) for the prevention of new migration flows in the "Global South"?
  3. Which motives, norms, and imperatives for action are mirrored in the practices of West German development aid? By analyzing a specific humanitarian hot spot in Asia this project focuses on the concepts and practices of development policy employed by different governmental and non-governmental actors and mutually intertwined on the global and local scales. It thereby connects to several ongoing projects of the Leibniz Research Alliance “Crises in a Globalized World,” particularly in the framework of the working group “Humanitarian Crises.”
Participating Institutes

InstitutE for Contemporary History (IfZ)