Staff

Dr Katja Mielke

Dr Katja Mielke

Senior Researcher


contact by phone

+49 228 911 96-23

contact by e-mail

katja.mielke(at)bicc.de

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Expertise

Research Profile


Political sociology – investigating ‘the political’ – at the intersection of conflict, migration and development studies:  

entanglements of state–society intersections and governance in conflict-affected settings with a focus on power relations, legitimacy, networks, legitimation and representation mechanisms at sub-national and national levels and in transnational perspective  

politics of peace processes and negotiations, reconciliation and conflict resolution efforts of exile groups/ cross-border

politics of intervention/s: stabilisation, development cooperation, humanitarianism, questions of norm transfer, conflict sensitivity  

politics of (im)mobility (migration, displacement, return, mobility regimes, social mobility) and conflict; (informal and formal) governance of (im)mobility, inequalities, social and political mobilisation processes; non-institutionalised forms of power and movements/ mobilization  

knowledge orders and (new) ‘area studies’ debate: science policy in area studies, so-called classical disciplines and interdisciplinary fields such as peace and conflict studies, forced migration studies; practices of knowledge production, epistemic violence

regional focus: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Central Asia, Germany

Research Topics / Key Expertise


Lessons learned and evaluation of Germany’s engagement in Afghanistan 2001-21

Peacebuilding vs. international interventions  

Local governance & social order/ing

Heritage and urban governance in conflict-affected settings

Transnational history-making and translocal politics

Inequality and social (im)mobility of displaced people and migrants

Governance of migration regimes

Belt and Road initiative in Pakistan and Germany

Countries Of Expertise


  • Afghanistan,
  • Pakistan,
  • Iraq,
  • Tajikistan

Professional Career

Katja studied at Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and completed her PhD at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) of the University of Bonn in 2015. She has an interdisciplinary study background in social sciences. Her research, analyses and policy advice are empirically grounded, mostly qualitative in nature, and aim at mid-range theorizing. In her PhD dissertation, Katja analysed local politics around natural resources governance and the effects of the international intervention in rural northeast Afghanistan. In this context, she conceptualized ‘social order’ as framework to analyse Afghan rural politics from an emic perspective in a setting where ‘the state’ played a limited role. Contrasting the local social order with the ‘interventionists’’ ordering ideas showed why the military, political and development intervention measures enabled the international community, at best, to establish the image of a state in contrast to intended objectives of full-fledged institution- and statebuilding in post-2001 Afghanistan. At BICC, post-doc research on social mobilization and self-organization of communities in urban peripheries of Lahore, Karachi and Kabul carried the concept of social order/ing further while focussing on urban governance, class, and the nexus of spatial and social mobility. Projects on the phenomenon of Daesh in Afghanistan, transnational Kurdish actor networks, the conflict mitigation- and peace-making efforts of Afghans in exile, transnational (im)mobility patterns of Afghans in Pakistan, and migration governance in (northern) Iraq followed. Currently, Katja leads the project ‘China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Pakistan and North Rhine-Westphalia’ (2021-24). She has been appointed as expert to the Afghanistan Study Commission of the German parliament for the period 2022-24. 

Important Publications

Mielke, K.

On Peace Activists and Skilled Survivors. Afghan Exiles and Transnational History-Making from Below

(2023)

Open

Cermeño, H., & Mielke, K.

Endangered Urban Commons: Lahore’s Violent Heritage Management and Prospects for Reconciliation

(2023)

Open

Mielke, K., & Etzold, B.

Afghans’ narrowing mobility options in Pakistan and the right to transnational living: a figurational perspective

(2022)

Open

Mielke, K.

Calculated Informality in Governing (Non)return: An Evolutionary Governance Perspective

(2022)

Open

Mielke, K., & Cermeño, H.

Mitigating pro-poor housing failures: Access theory and the politics of urban governance

(2021)

Open

Publications

Mielke, K., & Şahin-Mencütek, Z., & Wolf, D.

Legal and Policy Infrastructures of Returns in Germany

GAPs , Bonn (2024)

Open

Lange, A., & Mielke, K., & et al., .

Inter-ministerial strategic evaluation of Germany’s civilian engagement in Afghanistan

Deutsche Hochschule der Polizei (DHPol) , Münster (2023)

Open

Marquardt, U., & Lange, A., & Mielke, K., & Seltmann, P., & Vogt, T.

Ressortgemeinsame strategische Evaluierung des zivilen Engagements der Bundesregierung in Afghanistan

Deutsches Evaluierungsinstitut der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit (DEval) , Bonn (2023)

Open

Schetter, C., & Mielke, K.

Die Taliban – Diagnose eines Erfolgs

Hamburger Edition , Hamburg (2023)

Open

Şahin-Mencütek, Z., & Mielke, K., & Schmitz-Pranghe, C., & Vollmer, R.

When Returning Home Feels Like Hell

IPS Journal (2023)

Open

Mielke, K., & Şahin-Mencütek, Z., & Schmitz-Pranghe, C., & Vollmer, R.

Zurück zu Hause oder zurück "in der Hölle"?

Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (2023)

Open

Mielke, K., & Schetter, C.

Afghanistan

Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag , Frankfurt am Main (2023)

Open

Mielke, K.

On Peace Activists and Skilled Survivors. Afghan Exiles and Transnational History-Making from Below

(2023)

Open

Mielke, K.

Finding One's Place in Chaos. Returnees' Reintegration Experiences in Northern Iraq

BICC , Bonn (2023)

Open

Cermeño, H., & Mielke, K.

Endangered Urban Commons: Lahore’s Violent Heritage Management and Prospects for Reconciliation

(2023)

Open

Mielke, K., & Etzold, B.

Afghans’ narrowing mobility options in Pakistan and the right to transnational living: a figurational perspective

(2022)

Open

Schetter, C., & Mielke, K.

Die Taliban. Geschichte, Politik, Ideologie

C.H.Beck , München (2022)

Open

Mielke, K.

Calculated Informality in Governing (Non)return: An Evolutionary Governance Perspective

(2022)

Open

Schetter, C., & Mielke, K.

Helfen trotz der Taliban

E+Z Entwicklung und Zusammenarbeit (2022)

Open

Schetter, C., & Mielke, K.

In spite of the Taliban, engage!

D+C Development and Cooperation (2022)

Open

Mielke, K.

Konfliktporträt Afghanistan.

Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung , Bonn (2022)

Open

Mielke, K.

Looking beyond stereotypes: A critical reflection of popular narratives about the Taliban

(2022)

Open

Katsiaficas, C., & Mielke, K., & Tobin, S., & Momani, F., & Al Yakoub, T., & Javed, M.

Outward and upward mobility. How Afghan and Syrian refugees can use mobility to improve their prospects (TRAFIG Policy Brief No. 5)

BICC , Bonn (2021)

Open

Isikozlu, E., & Mielke, K., & Javed, M.

Now more than ever: Afghans in Pakistan need more mobility and durable solutions to stay (TRAFIG Practice Note No. 7)

BICC , Bonn (2021)

Open

Mielke, K., & Shahid, N., & Khatana, A., & Ahmad, Z., & Irshad, A., & Kiran, S., & Etzold, B., & Asghari, S., & Javed, M.

Figurations of Displacement in and beyond Pakistan. Empirical findings and reflections on protracted displacement and translocal connections of Afghans (TRAFIG Working Paper No. 7)

BICC , Bonn (2021)

Open

Mielke, K., & Cermeño, H.

Mitigating pro-poor housing failures: Access theory and the politics of urban governance

(2021)

Open

Meininghaus, E., & Mielke, K.

Meaningful political participation. Lessons learnt from UN mediation in Afghanistan and Syria

BICC , Bonn (2021)

Open

Mielke, K., & Meininghaus, E.

Engaging refugees and migrants as peace advocates. How Germany can contribute to peace in Syria and Afghanistan

BICC , Bonn (2021)

Open

Schmitz-Pranghe, C., & Oruč, N., & Mielke, K., & Ibričević, A.

Making sure that the emigration of health-care personnel from Albania and BiH works for all: What Germany can do

BICC , Bonn (2020)

Open

Grawert, E., & Mielke, K., & Pleisnitzer, S., & Markiewicz, S., & Rifat, A., & Abdou, A.

Reintegration in northern Iraq: The time is now for Europe to act

BICC , Bonn (2020)

Open

Mielke, K.

Review of the book: The Taliban reader. War, Islam and politics, by A. Strick van Linschoten & F. Kuehn. Die Welt des Islams, 60(4), 493–496.

(2020)

Open

Isikozlu, E., & Mielke, K., & Javed, M.

Now more than ever: Afghans in Pakistan need more mobility and durable solutions to stay (TRAFIG practice note 7). Bonn: BICC.

(2020)

Open

Mielke, K., & Mutschler, M., & Meininghaus, E.

For a dynamic approach to stabilization

(2020)

Open

Kraler, A., & Fourer, M., & Knudsen, A., & Kwaks, J., & Mielke, K., & Noack, M., & Tobin, S., & Wilson, C.

Learning from the Past. Protracted displacement in the post-World War II period (TRAFIG working paper 2).

(2020)

Open

Meininghaus, E., & Mielke, K.

Beyond Doha and Geneva: Peacemaking engagement of Afghans and Syrians in North Rhine-Westphalia and Germany

BICC , Bonn (2019)

Open

Mielke, K.

Thirty years after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan

(2019)

Open

Bethke, F., & Meininghaus, E., & Mielke, K., & Mutschler, M., & Schetter, C., & Wirkus, L.

Bewaffnete Konflikte: Stabilisierung darf keine Interessenpolitik sein

LIT , Berlin (2019)

Open

Kleist, J., & Engler, M., & Etzold, B., & Mielke, K., & Oltmer, J., & Pott, A., & Schetter, C., & Wirkus, L.

Abschlussbericht – Flucht- und Flüchtlingsforschung in Deutschland: Eine Bestandsaufnahme.

IMIS/BICC , Osnabrück (2019)

Open

Grawert, E., & Mielke, K.

Coping with protracted displacement - How Afghans secure their livelihood in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan

BICC , Bonn (2018)

Open

Meininghaus, E., & Mielke, K.

Situated sustainability: A research programme for conflict-affected settings and beyond

BICC , Bonn (2018)

Open

von Boemcken, M., & Meininghaus, E., & Mielke, K., & Schetter, C., & Schlüsing, C., & Trancart, C., & Wirkus, L.

Bewaffnete Konflikte: Deutsche Stabilisierungspolitik auf dem Prüfstand

LIT , Berlin (2018)

Open

Grawert, E., & Mielke, K.

Exodus aus Afghanistan: Wie Deutschland Selbsthilfe und Eigeninitiativen unterstützen kann

BICC , Bonn (2018)

Open

Schlüsing, C., & Mielke, K.

Deutsches Engagement im Irak: Wie weniger mehr sein kann

BICC , Bonn (2018)

Open

Schlüsing, C., & Mielke, K.

Drohende Gewalteskalation nach dem Referendum: Wie kann deutsche Einflussnahme in Kurdistan-Irak deeskalierend wirken?

BICC , Bonn (2017)

Open

Mielke, K., & Miszak, N.

Jihadi-Salafism in Afghanistan—Beyond Taliban, Al-Qaeda and Daesh: Options for German foreign and development policy

BICC , Bonn (2017)

Open

Mielke, K.

Afghanistan seit 1978

Reichert , Wiesbaden (2017)

Open

Mielke, K., & Miszak, N.

Making sense of Daesh in Afghanistan: A social movement perspective

BICC , Bonn (2017)

Open

Mielke, K.

Fluchtursachen und internationale Verantwortung: Das Beispiel Afghanistan. Wissenschaft und Frieden, 35(2), 11-13.

(2017)

Open

Mielke, K., & Wilde, A.

The role of area studies in theory production. A differentiation of mid-range concepts and the example of social order

Palgrave Macmillan , New York (2017)

Open

Hornidge, A., & Mielke, K.

The art of science policy for 21st century area studies: Concluding reflections

Palgrave Macmillan , New York (2017)

Open

Mielke, K., & Hornidge, A.

Introduction: Knowledge production, area studies and the mobility turn

Palgrave Macmillan , New York (2017)

Open

Mielke, K.

Afghanistan: Ist der IS auf dem Vormarsch? Welt-Sichten, No. 4/2017, 6-7.

(2017)

Open

Mielke, K.

Islamischer Staat auch in Afghanistan? Aus der Perspektive der Forschung. Südasien, 37(1), 38-41.

(2017)

Open

Cermeño, H., & Mielke, K.

Cityscapes of Lahore: Reimagining the urban

THAAP Journal , Lahore (2016)

Open

Schetter, C., & Mielke, K.

Was von Kundus bleibt. Intervention, Gewalt und Soziale Ordnung in Afghanistan

(2016)

Open

Mielke, K.

Tracing change: On the positionality of traditionally mobile groups in Kabul’s camps

(2016)

Open

Mielke, K., & Grawert, E.

Why Afghanistan is no safe country of origin

BICC , Bonn (2016)

Open

Bohnet, H., & Mielke, K., & Rudolf, M., & Schetter, C., & Vollmer, R.

Protected rather than protracted: Strengthening displaced persons in peace processes

BICC , Bonn (2015)

Open

Mielke, K., & Schetter, C.

Commentary \ The case of Kunduz.

BICC , Bonn (2015)

Open

Mielke, K., & Schetter, C.

Der Fall Kundus. Plädoyer für eine kritische Bestandsaufnahme. Wissenschaft und Frieden, 33(4), 36-37.

(2015)

Open

Mielke, K.

Not in the master plan. Dimensions of exclusion in Kabul

Transcript , Bielefeld (2015)

Open

Hornidge, A., & Mielke, K.

Crossroads studies: From spatial containers to studying the mobile

(2015)

Open

Mielke, K.

(Re-)constructing Afghanistan? Rewriting rural Afghans’ Lebenswelten into recent development and state-making processes. An analysis of local governance and social order (PhD-Dissertation in Development Research)

Universität Bonn , Bonn (2015)

Open

Mielke, K.

Protests in search of a movement. Tanqueed (7), 52-58.

(2014)

Open

Mielke, K.

Das neue Kabul: Besitzkämpfe und Interessen im Urbanisierungsprozess. Inamo, 20(78), 21-23.

(2014)

Open

Mielke, K.

What inhibits and enables Afghans' social mobility? On the limits of community organization and mobilization in Afghanistan

(2014)

Open

Mielke, K.

Social order as a boundary concept: Unveiling dichotomies, conceptualizing politics

(2014)

Open

Mielke, K., & Hornidge, A.

Crossroads studies: From spatial containers to interactions in differentiated spatialities (Crossroads Asia Working Paper series No. 15).

ZEF , Bonn (2014)

Open

Wilde, A., & Mielke, K.

Order, stability, and change in Afghanistan: From top-down to bottom-up state-making

(2013)

Open

Mielke, K., & Schetter, C.

Pakistan. Land der Extreme

C.H. Beck , München (2013)

Open

Schetter, C., & Mielke, K.

Erzwungene Staatlichkeit – Die internationale Intervention in Afghanistan

Johannes Gutenberg Universität Mainz , Mainz (2012)

Open

Abdullaev, I., & Mielke, K., & Mollinga, P., & Monsees, J., & Schetter, C., & Shah, U.

Water, war and reconstruction. Irrigation management in the Kunduz Region

Routledge , London (2010)

Open

Mielke, K., & Schetter, C.

Pakistan als Drehscheibe globaler Migrationsströme

Schöningh , Paderborn (2010)

Open

Mielke, K., & Schetter, C.

Die Praxis des Wiederaufbaus am Beispiel Afghanistans

Schöningh , Paderborn (2010)

Open

Mielke, K., & Schetter, C.

Praktische Herausforderungen beim zivilen Wiederaufbau Afghanistans

Schöningh , Paderborn (2009)

Open