"We Turks are no Germans": Assimilation discourses and the dialectical construction of identities in Germany

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Abstract

In this paper I examine the ways in which politicians, media, and native residents formulate assimilation discourses - that is, expectations for immigrants to adapt to prevailing norms and cultures - and the effects that such discourses have on social relations in immigrant-receiving societies. Archival and ethnographic research in Germany illustrates that assimilation discourses are central in the dialectical process of identity construction in which native-born Germans and immigrants from Turkey construct their respective 'other', and thereby themselves. I pay particular attention to the effects of assimilation discourses in negotiations over belonging and culture at multiple scales in Germany-from the national to the neighborhood level. Space figures prominently in these negotiations, as the spaces that immigrants occupy and create often become the focus of debates about difference, otherness, and the unassimilability of migrants in Germany.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1673-1692
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironment and Planning A
Volume38
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)

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