Jonas Aubert Nchoundoungam | Associate Postgraduate

Mobilities, Migrations, Reconfiguration of Spaces
Centre Marc Bloch, Friedrichstraße 191, D-10117 Berlin
Email: jonas.nchoundoungam  ( at ) Tel: +49(0) 30 / 20 93 70700

Home Institution : Humboldt Universität zu Berlin | Position : Associated doctorate | Disciplines : Geography |


Jonas Aubert Nchoundoungam (HU Berlin)

2016 : Master of Art in Geography, speciality Emerged and Developed countries (University of Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne) supervised by Bernard Tallet and Christine Raimond. Title of the thesis: "Foncier et stratégies d’accès et de contrôle dans les anciennes plantations coloniales au Cameroun: l’exemple de la C.O.C". Funded by par the IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement).

2018-2023: Doctoral thesis (Dr. rer nat.) in Geography (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, under the supervision of Elmar Kulke) entitled "Black African asylum seekers and tolerated migrants' socio-economic integration in Germany: An ethno-sociogeographical approach of their income generation practices in Berlin", funded by the Elsa Neumann Foundation of the Land of Berlin.

2021-2023: Teaching assignments and supervision of student dissertations at the Institute of Geography at Berlin's Humboldt University on the subjects of migration, the night-time economy, places exposed to crime and police violence, racial profiling and the Geography of Cameroon (Bachelor's and Master's degrees).





  • International human migration
  • Socio-economic integration, asylum, comparative migration regimes and systems
  • Comparative migration networks and policies
  • Racial profiling, racism and discriminatory practices
  • Places with high criminality rate (KbOs)
  • Network analysis (economic, migration, spatial)
  • Triangulation methods (with emphasis on ethnography and socio-geographical methods : including mapping, observation, interviews and questionnaires)
Title of thesis
Black African asylum seekers and tolerated migrants’ socio- economic integration in Germany: An ethno-sociogeographical approach of their income generation practices in Berlin
Summary of thesis

This doctoral thesis is based on my personal experience as Black African asylum seeker in Germany in which research, I investigate the economic activities that Black African asylum seekers i.e. with an Aufenthaltsgestattung (residence authorization; § 55 German Asylum Act) and tolerated migrants i.e. with a Duldung (§ 60a German Residence Act) have developed in Berlin for income generation. It is an innovative research project as it integrates several approaches and methods for data collection from the humanities and social sciences. For instance, different ethno-sociogeographical methods 1) participant observations, 2) interviews and focus group discussions 3) cartography (mapping) are used in my doctoral thesis to make visible the income generation practices developed by Black African asylum seekers and tolerated migrants for their and their families’ survival. 

Methodically, the thesis relies on mixed methods for data collection (sampling, interviews, questionnaires). Between 2016 and June 2021, I have achieved twenty individual case studies, three hundred semi-structured questionnaires, two expert interviews with members of the German Parliament and the Berlin Parliament, six focus group discussions conducted both with the target group itself and with an German official governing their socio-economic integration in Berlin/Germany. The economic activities identified and investigated in this research are: drug dealing, newspaper delivering, informal street food selling, hairdressing, trading and testing for corona. 

The uptake of the economic activities mentioned above are deeply connected and intertwined with the individual’s socio-economic integration. And the socio-economic integration of the research’s target group (Black African asylum seekers and tolerated migrants), i.e. their access to integration course and their having/receiving a work permit, always heavily relies on the approval of two state agencies: 1) the Foreigner Registration Office (in German Ausländerbehörde: ABH) and 2) the Federal Agency of Work (In German: Bundesagentur für Arbeit: BA). Due to the interconnectedness of these different factorsthe final aim of my doctoral thesis is: 

  1. to identify, describe, understand and critically reflect the survival strategies developed by Black African asylum seekers and tolerated migrants for income generation, including the development of typologies of their economic activities for income generation in Berlin, e.g. day/night time economic activity, the form and nature of their economic activities (legal, semi-legal or illegal/criminal) and its worker’s socio-demographic characteristics in Berlin. 
  2. to uncover the terms, concepts and notions used by the Black African asylum seekers and tolerated migrants in defining themselves and their economic activities in Berlin (Glossary of Black African Migration); and 
  3. to investigate the relevance of their networks (individual/common) to access their job(s).

Indeed, this research is shedding light on a human group that is invisible and unresearched so far. I uncover the different aspects and factors influencing the uptake of certain economic activities by Black African asylum seekers and tolerated migrants and investigate the everyday experiences and challenges by carrying out these economic activities. Furthermore, this research advocates for a rethinking of the socio-economic integration policy of Black African asylum seekers and tolerated migrants in Germany which is highly restricted and heavily elitist letting few possibilities to these two groups of migrants study in this research, than relying on (il)legal, semi-legal and criminal income generation practices which negatively affected and slow the genuine socio-integration in Berlin/Germany. 

Institution of thesis
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Elmar Kulke

Places with high criminality rate in Berlin

The research Berlin's KbOs aims at exploring the growth of criminal practices, crime control measures and imaginaries of (il)legality as responses to and producers of the politics of threat and uncertainty that are currently developing across Europe. It aims to grasp analytically the motivations, challenges and implications of criminalisation for the variety of actors and practices that (re)shape the entangled landscapes of criminalisation around drug dealing and use, racial profiling, racism and discriminatory practices, and community policing. We chose Berlin as our spatial framework and field of investigation, and in particular the so-called places with high criminality rate (in German: Kriminalitätsbelastete Orte / KbO). The field is not only interesting from an economic-geographical perspective. The topic is also interesting from a social and cultural geography perspective, as Berlin's KbOs are places where locals and migrants with different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds and different goals meet and interact.