Immigration and the Nation-State: The United States, Germany, and Great Britain

By Christian Joppke | Go to book overview

6 From Postnational Membership to Citizenship: Germany

The case of immigrant integration in Germany casts doubt on both Soysal's diagnosis of postnational membership and Brubaker's insistence on the ultrastability of national citizenship traditions. For long, (West) Germany's approach to integrating its de facto immigrants followed strictly Soysalian lines: keep them as foreigners and deny them citizenship, also in order to ensure that 'guestworkers' would stay just that; but give them full civil, social, perhaps even political rights. Eventually, however, the limitations of postnational integration had to become apparent. Postnational membership is well-suited for the first generation of de facto immigrants, who stick to the—often deceptive—idea of returning home one day. It is ill-suited for second- and third-generation immigrants, who may enjoy (almost) equal rights but are forever kept separate and stigmatizable as 'foreigners'. The tragic wave of zenophobic violence of the early 1990s ratified the failure of postnational immigrant integration in Germany. 'Think of ten-yearold Yeliz Asslan,' said President Weizsäcker in commemoration of two Turkish girls and their mother murdered by arsonists in Mölln. 'She was born among us and had never lived anywhere else. In our press, however, we read only about “three Turks”.' 1

The painful recognition that citizenship mattered had to go along with its redefinition. Moving away from postnational membership à la Soysal could not mean embracing traditional ethnocultural citizenship, as diagnosed by Brubaker. In fact, both models had coexisted up to this point, one conditioning the other: endowing foreigners with equal rights enabled maintaining the limitation of citizenship to ethnic Germans. On the other hand, easing the access of foreigners to citizenship through as-of-right naturalization, jus soli, or the acceptance of double citizenship had to entail a civic-territorial redefinition of the traditional German model of ethno-genealogical citizenship. Germany's slow and tortured turn from postnational to national

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Immigration and the Nation-State: The United States, Germany, and Great Britain
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Immigration and the Nation-State iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1: Immigration and the Nation-State 1
  • Part I Embattled Entry 15
  • 2: A Nation of Immigrants Again 23
  • 3: Not a Country of Immigration 62
  • 4: The Zero-Immigration Country 100
  • Part II Multicultural Integration 139
  • 5: 'Race' Attacks the Melting-Pot 147
  • 6: From Postnational Membership to Citizenship 186
  • 7: Between Citizenship and Race 223
  • 8: Conclusion 260
  • Appendix: Interviews 319
  • References 322
  • Index 349
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