Katharina Fritsch | Associated Researcher

The State, Political Norms and Political Conflicts
Centre Marc Bloch, Friedrichstraße 191, D-10117 Berlin
Email: katharina.fritsch  ( at )  univie.ac.at Tel: +49(0) 30 / 20 93 70700 or 70707
Website: http://http://

Disciplines : Political Science , Social Sciences |


Katharina Fritsch studied International Development (BA) and Political Science (Diplom) at the University of Vienna and received her doctorate in Comparative Political Science in October 2018. From 2012-2014 she was part of the postgraduate course "Sociology of Practices" at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS), Vienna, and from 2014-2017 she worked on the research project "Popular Culture in Translocal Spaces" at the Institute for African Studies (University of Vienna). She is currently a lecturer at the University of Vienna and a research assistant in the research project "Digitalizing Youth Politics" at the Danube University Krems. Her research interests include postcolonial migration and diaspora, popular culture and intersectional power relations, decolonization of knowledge, and authoritarianization processes in Western democracies from a postcolonial perspective.

Title of thesis

„The Dispositive of Communitarisation: An Intersectional Analysis of Political and Cultural Mobilisations as Biopolitics. With a Focus on ‚Franco-Comorian diaspora’ in Marseille“

Summary of thesis

My dissertation examines the mobilisation of ‘Franco-Comorian diaspora’ in politics and culture in Marseille. I focus on the mobilisation of notions of ‘community’ and how such mobilisations shape and are shaped by intersectional power relations. Theoretically, I draw on postcolonial and intersectional approaches to ‘diaspora’, ‘culture’ and ‘identity’, a Foucauldian notion of discourse, dispositive and biopolitics as well as performative approaches to subjectivation. Based on this theoretical approach, I analyse what I refer to as a dispositive of communitarisation, that is, processes of (self-)governing of Franco-Comorian communities through discourses, practices, institutions and subjectivation processes. These (self-)governing processes are analysed along three dimensions, namely spaces, cultural markets and politics of communitarisation.

Methodologically, this dissertation focuses on cultural and political events mobilising ‘Franco-Comorian community’ in Marseille. Following ethnographic approaches, the empirical material consists of qualitative interviews with actors involved in the events and protocols of participant observations and (audio-visual) documents related to the events. By focusing on events, the researcher is understood as an integral part of events, thus enabling a continued engagement with questions about the positionalities and power relations in postcolonial research contexts. The empirical material was coded in terms of dispositive-related dimensions – e.g. meanings, practices or identity categories – associated with the three dimensions of the dispositive of communitarisation. The analysis of spaces shows how the association of Franco-Comorian communities with certain spaces, more specifically Marseille, the ‘Northern Districts’ and ‘event halls’ is a result of policies and practices of Franco-Comorian communities. The analysis of cultural markets discusses the musical practice of twarabas a diasporic cultural market and the talent show Etoiles Rasmi as a reflection of discourses and practices of ‘cultural entrepreneurship’. The analysis of politics emphasises the role of ethnicised communities as a political resource for Franco-Comorian politicians. All three dimensions stress the role of the social category of ethnicity in communitarisation processes, which are also affected by other social categories, especially locality/age classes, class, gender and generation. In my dissertation, I argue that communitarisation processes reflect a context of postcolonial France, where ethnicised communities have been marked as the ‘Other’ of the ‘national community’. My research and approach hence contributes to debates on biopolitics, intersectionality and forms of (self-) governing in postcolonial contexts.


Articulations of Political Publics: Effects of 'Large' and 'Petty' States of Exception on Civil Society Involvement in Franco-German Comparison (together with Andrea Kretschmann; under peer review)

Articulations of Political Publics: Effects of 'Large' and 'Petty' States of Exception on Civil Society Involvement in Franco-German Comparison (together with Andrea Kretschmann; under peer review)

In recent years, exceptional phenomena in law and politics have shaped both the legal and political practice of Western democracies, ranging from regulations of an exceptional character in criminal law to formally declared states of emergency. The interdisciplinary project “Exception and Protest” – located at the intersection of sociology and political science – aims at an empirical and theoretical comparison of the effects of exceptional regulations on political publics in contexts with and without formal states of emergency. On the basis of an ethnographic study of civil society engagement in form of street protests in Germany and France (blockupy and current climate protests on the one hand, protests against the labor law in the course of the nuit debout movement and the gilets jaunes on the other), the connection between manifestations of political publics, policies, laws and executive practices that follow a logic of exception rather than a classical understanding of the rule of law is examined. A particular focus is put on the extent to which the possible effects show differences or rather similarities in view of the existence of either a formal state of emergency as in France (2015-2017) or legal regulations of an exceptional character as in Germany. The comparison takes place against the background of a socio-theoretical embedding of exceptions in overall societal tendencies of de-democratization and securitization processes, including protest, in Western democracies. In this way, ethnographic research in exemplary fields of political street protest aims to make an interdisciplinary contribution to political sociology and criminal sociology as well as to comparative political science, which also has an impact on political theory.




Fritsch, K. (2019): The Dispositive of Communitarisation and Ethnicised Biopolitics. Cultural and political mobilisations of ‘Franco-Comorian diaspora’ in Marseille, Series: Routledge Studies on African and Black Diaspora, London: Routledge, im Peer Review-Verfahren.

Peer-reviewed Articles

Fritsch, Katharina (2020): Forschung, Kunst und Postkolonialismus : eine Dialog-Montage zum Dokumentarfilm Histoires de Twarab à Marseille, Journal für Entwicklungspolitik (JEP), Special Issue “Social conflicts, current tendencies of coloniality and decolonization: Inquiries and evidences”, im Peer Review-Verfahren.

Fritsch, Katharina (2019): Ethnicised social mobility as self-governing among Franco-Comorian politicians in Marseille and türkiyeli entrepreneurs in Vienna, Ganser, Alexandra/Pelz, Annegret (Hg.): Sammelband Plattform Mobile Gesellschaften und Kulturen, Wien: Vienna University Press, zusammen mit Alev Çakır, im Erscheinen.

Fritsch, K. (2019): Kulturelle Mobilisierungen ‚franko-komorischer Diaspora’ in Marseille –Intersektionelle Verhandlungen, Stichproben. Wiener Zeitschrift für kritische Afrikastudien 19/36: 101-132.

Fritsch, Katharina (2017): ‘Trans-Skin’: Analyzing the practice of skin bleaching among middle-class women in Dar es Salaam, Ethnicities 17(6): 749-770. Doi: 10.1177/1468796814565216.

Fritsch, Katharina (2013): Hautbleichen als dekolonisierende Praxis? Eine Anwendung des Performativitätskonzepts auf die Körperpraxis des Hautbleichens tansanischer Frauen. In: Hacker, Hanna//Fritsch, Katharina/Garde, Isabelle/Huber, Clemens/Klapeer, Christine (Hg.): Sexualitäten und Körperpolitik. JEP (Journal für Entwicklungspolitik), vol. XXIX(1), 70-89.

Fritsch, Katharina (2013): Sex und Körper: ‚Alte Themen’ in der Entwicklungsforschung? In: Hacker, Hanna/Fritsch, Katharina/Garde, Isabelle/Huber, Clemens/Klapeer, Christine (Hg.): Sexualitäten und Körperpolitik. JEP (Journal für Entwicklungspolitik), vol. XXIX(1): 4-11, zusammen mit Isabelle Garde, Hanna Hacker, Clemens Huber und Christine Klapeer.

Fritsch, Katharina (2013): Queer Entwickeln. Feministische und Postkoloniale Ansätze. In: Stichproben – Wiener Zeitschrift für kritische Afrikastudien, Heft 24: 126-133.

Non-peer reviewed articles

Fritsch, Katharina (2013): Space Intruders — Analyzing Viennese squats from radical-democratic and biopolitical perspectives. In: Transversal multilingual 10/2011, zusammen mit Nicolas Schlitz.

Fritsch, Katharina (2013): Ge(t)räumte Räume. Wiener Besetzungsbewegungen aus biopolitischer Perspektive. In: Goll, Tobias/Keil, Daniel/Telios, Thomas (Hg.): Critical Matter. Diskussionen eines neuen Materialismus. Münster: Edition Assemblage, 259-271, zusammen mit Nicolas Schlitz.

Fritsch, Katharina (2012): Ein neues Schönheitsbild geht um ... Einblick in die Praktik des Hautbleichens von tansanischen Frauen. In: frauensolidarität, Heft 2, 2012: 26 f.

Fritsch, Katharina (2009): Mythos „Weißsein“. In: RAISON. Zeitschrift für gesellschaftliche Entwicklung. Nr. 3, 12: 2009, 60-64.


Sexualitäten und Körperpolitik. In: Journal für Entwicklungspolitik (JEP), 2013, vol. XXIX(1), zusammen mit Hanna Hacker, Isabelle Garde, Clemens Huber und Christine Klapeer.


Carvajal, Andrés/Hamada Hamza, Mounir/Fritsch, Katharina (2016): Histoires de Twarab à Marseille/Histories of Twarab in Marseilles. Marseille/Barcelona/Vienna, 74 min (HD / 16:9).