Navigation Menu

'I Would Say I Am Austrian but …' - Multiple Spatial Belongings and Hybrid Identities among Young People in Vienna, Austria

Judith Schnelzer | Christiane Hintermann | Isabel Kern Downloads: 281

Corresponding Author Email:

Published: 2021/11/10 DOI:

Open Access

Keywords: Place Identity, Multiple Belongings, Young Adults, Mixed-Methods-Approach, Migration Society


Young people who live in or attend school in Vienna grow up in multicultural environments, as immigration has shaped the Austrian society over the last decades. In public debates, migrants and their descendants are repeatedly called on to “integrate”, while their feelings of belonging to Austria are questioned. Drawing from discussions on hybrid and multiple identities, this study explores the spatial dimension of identity constructions of students in Vienna aged between 14 and 19 years. Quantitative data from a comprehensive online survey and qualitative data from group discussions reveal that multiple spatial belongings on different scales are the rule and not the exception among young Viennese. Furthermore, on a national level, participants identify with Austria to a much larger extent than with any other country. Findings emphasise the need for a mixed-methods approach when researching questions of identity constructions. Fieldwork experiences furthermore show that young people are highly interested in discussing the topic, as they are confronted with these issues on a daily basis.

Highlights: - An online survey and group discussions examine young adults’ spatially informed identities in a comprehensive way - Austria is the main national reference point, however the local level remains an important spatial anchor - In migration societies like the Viennese or the Austrian, spatially hybrid identities seem to be the norm rather than the exception - Students do not seem to be tattered when negotiating identities between various spatial, cultural and socio-ethnic elements

Current Issue
Volume 12, No 4, 2021
Last edit commited: Wednesday, 16 September 2020 12:56