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Dr. Johann Honnens

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Dissertation Project


Das konjunktive Wissen in der Arabesk-Rezeption deutsch-türkischer Jugendlicher (Conjunctive knowledge in the arabesque reception of German-Turkish youth)

This project investigates conjunctive knowledge in the arabesque reception of German-Turkish youth, following a qualitative research methodology. Taking Pierre Bourdieu's concept of habitus and other research into youth culture as a point of departure, it assumes that music preferences in adolescence essentially function, among other things, to mark identity and social distinction. 
Arabesque is widely listened to in the German-Turkish youth scene in Berlin and designates a popular music aesthetic that become popular in Turkey in the wake of the internal waves of migration during the 1960s from its eastern provinces to its western cities. Arabesque stands for a core of stylistic and aesthetic conventions, for example, for resigned and fatalistic texts, a melismatic style of singing, synthetic string chords, and a free synthesis of elements from traditional folk music, high art music, and European and Arabic popular music. For some, a kind of anticulture and sign of an Islamic counterreaction and for others, an expression of social marginalization on the periphery, of a false application of democratic reforms and a repression of Ottoman heritage, the debate about the arabesque symbolizes one central sociopolitical identity discourse in Turkey.

This project aims to ask about the conjunctive experiences and collective models of meaning shared by youth in Germany who come from a migration background and have a preference for arabesque. Methodologically, it follows Anselm Strauss's grounded theory, the conjunctive conception of knowledge, the documentary method, and group discussion procedures as developed by Ralf Bohnsack. The aim of the dissertation’s qualitative analysis is to develop hypotheses for culturally specific music education. This entails responding to a fundamental paradox of education for those who come from migration backgrounds: How is it possible to minimize, at the same time, both the exclusion and production of “migration others” (Paul Mecheril)?

11.05.2019: received the Sigrid-Abel-Struth-Preis of the academic partnership music pedagogy


Johann Honnens studied music and teacher training for evangelical theology at the Berlin University of the Arts and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. After completing his examinations in 2010, he worked as a freelance choir director and lived abroad in Istanbul, in addition to gaining instruction in the music instruments saz and ney, Turkish music theory, and the Turkish language.    


Sozioästhetische Anerkennung. Eine qualitativ-empirische Untersuchung der arabesk-Rezeption von Jugendlichen als Basis für die Entwicklung einer situativen Perspektive auf Musikunterricht, Münster 2017.

„Ethnizität im Musikunterricht? Ein Beitrag zur Diskussion innerhalb der Interkulturellen Musikpädagogik ausgehend vom konjunktiven Wissen in migrationsspezifischen Musikinteressen von Jugendlichen“, in:, Onlinepublikation des Graduiertenkollegs „Das Wissen der Künste“, Nr. 1 „Wissensformationen und -praktiken“, Oktober 2013, URL: