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Blood Relations: A Brief Conversation on Citizenship in Germany

Eli Plenk (US): 

Upon arriving in Germany I was struck by the enormous and important steps this country has taken in relation to antisemitism and the Nazi past. Here everything from police education to street naming seems to be consciously and carefully thought about in relation to the Holocaust. I was encouraged by the important role of self-critical history in German public life, partially because few countries seem willing to face their demons to the same extent as Germany. Several weeks ago an American fellow who is here in Berlin with me was tardy to a meeting and joked that being late, was “in her blood.” Some of the Germans winced a bit at this proclamation and explained that seemingly harmless phrases like this one take on new meaning in a country still grapping with a traumatic recent past in which blood quantums determined who lived and who was sent to die in the camps. Because of its encounter with Nazi racial “science” Germany has what I think is a healthy and even enviable adversity to falsely biological notions like race. Indeed when the topic of race first came up among participants in the Humanity in Action Fellowship here, the Germans were quick to criticize its overtones of social Darwinism.

Given these conversations I was surprised to hear the term “ethnically German” used not only in mainstream discourse but also among my German peers and the lecturers who came to present throughout our Humanity in Action Fellowship program. More than surprised, I was confused. Coming from an American context, that word pairing is difficult to comprehend. In the U.S. citizenship and ethnicity (or “blood”) are fairly separate. Historically the American citizen has been constructed as both white and male, but these days people from many points on the political spectrum seem to understand “American” as a category fairly separate from skin color. In Germany it seems like this is not the case. Why?

Why does a country that has had such a devastating encounter with racialized approaches to belonging and citizenship still have a racial understanding of nationality, both legally and culturally? Why is German still seen as a narrowly defined ethnicity in a society that eschews race altogether? And why are many people of color here denied both cultural and legal recognition when it comes to being German? I do not know the answer to any of these questions but it is clear they are connected. Germany conflates ethnicity and nationality, which often leaves people of color out of the national community. Non-whites are born here yet still seen as foreigners while whites can be born and raised abroad yet seen as German. Why? Here I hope we can begin to uncover the complex and often fraught relationship between race, ethnicity, and national belonging.

Alessandra Malli (Germany):

You have brought up a number of different points. Before we delve into the relationship between citizenship, ethnicity and German-ness I would like to give a brief historical overview of German citizenship law, starting in 1871 when the German Empire was founded. In Wilhelmine Germany (1871-1918) citizenship was based on a system of pure jus sanguinis, in which citizenship is passed down by lineage. This approach to citizenship has also been called the “law of blood.” Under this system if parents were Germans than their children were Germans. This approach to citizenship differed starkly from jus soli citizenship, a model adopted in the U.S. and many other countries in which citizenship is given by place of birth regardless of parentage. (Howard 2009: 20). 

In the first 42 years of the German Empire’s existence citizenship laws were not federally standardized and therefore differed from one state to the next. In 1913, the first national common law related to citizenship was established, called “The Nationality Law of the German Empire and States” (Reichs- und Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz). This law “defined the citizenry more consistently as a community of descent” (Brubaker 1992: 115). It stuck to jus sanguinis and opened to the door for Auslandsdeutsche: “ethnic” Germans who lived outside the country. If these individuals were able to verify German ancestry, they could be naturalized. This law, as Brubaker points out, “marked the nationalization” and, perhaps more importantly, “ethnicization of German citizenship” (Brubaker 1994: 114). 

The Nationality Law of the German Empire and States survived – albeit slightly modified - until 1999, though they were suspended under National Socialism. Feeling that the 1913 laws did not adequately protect Germans against the perceived threat of “foreign races,” the Nazis replaced them with the infamous Nuremberg Race Laws (Nürnberger Rassengesetze) in 1935, which legalized fascist discrimination and systematically disenfranchised Germany’s substantial Jewish population.

After the Second World War and the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany), the Nuremberg Laws were abolished and the law of 1913 reinstated. In 1999 this law was replaced by a new citizenship doctrine called the Nationality Act (Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz), which liberalized and modernized immigration procedures in Germany. 

Let me take a quick look at immigration to show how this topic is intertwined with the discourse on citizenship. In the mid-1950s West Germany had a shortage of workers largely due to the large loss of human life that resulted from World War II and the Holocaust. They therefore actively recruited “guest workers” from Southern Europe, Turkey and other parts of the Middle East to help rebuild the country’s economy. This lasted from 1955 until 1973 when the oil crisis brought active recruitment to a halt. In the beginning it was not expected that these people would stay, but they did. Many eventually brought their families here and raised children and grandchildren in Germany. Still, for a long time no one talked about immigrants, only foreigners and guest workers. This began to change in the late 1990s, but to this day many Germans view darker skinned people as legal and cultural aliens.

Eli Plenk:

Let me interrupt for a moment to ask about East Germany. So far you have talked about Germany before the war and West Germany after World War II. What about the other Germany that existed between 1949 and 1990?

Alessandra Malli:

The German Democratic Republic also actively recruited workers abroad (Vertragsarbeiter), mostly from the Eastern Bloc. However, the state employed a very different set of policies, procedures, and attitudes toward migration. Because its history is complex, and quite different than the West’s it is easier to focus on West Germany in this writing and leave discussion of the GDR for a different day. However it is worth mentioning that laws regarding immigration that existed in West Germany during partition were applied to the whole country after reunification. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the 1913 law was applied to all of Germany and stayed in place until the new law was passed in 1999.

Eli Plenk:

Great, thanks for that clarification.

Alessandra Malli:

In 1982 in West Germany the then governing Christian Democratic Party (CDU) wrote in their program that Germany is not an immigration country (“Die Bundesrepublik ist kein Einwanderungsland”, CDU 1982: 7). This statement was certainly reactionary and reflected the antiquated views of that center right party. Like many Germans at the time, they did not want to face the reality that Germany was and still is a destination for millions of immigrants and home to their descendants.

By promoting a self-understanding of Germany as a homogenous nation-state that did not relate to or have to rely on immigrants, the CDU led public discourse away from any productive conversation regarding immigration and integration. This seems disrespectful given Germany’s obvious dependence on foreign labor after the Second World War and foolhardy given the substantial number of people in Germany with a “migration background.” The Federal Office for Migration and refugees stated that some 19.5 % of people living in Germany have a “migrant background” -- a vague and confusing term which we will deconstruct later (BAMF 2011). In light of these numbers, it is clearly absurd to speak about Germany as a non-immigration country. 

Since the early 1990’s the issue of immigration has made its way into public discourse in Germany and a good deal of progress has been made on the topic. Now few people will deny that Germany is an immigration country, even though many are not pleased with this reality. 

The number of hate crimes against migrants and those perceived as foreign is (perhaps ironically) one of the things that eventually brought this debate to the public. In the 90’s a number of cruel attacks highlighted tensions in Germany around immigration. One in particular comes to mind: “In August of 1992, there were seven nights of organized violence in the streets of the eastern German seaport town of Rostock. Armed with gasoline bombs and stones 1,000 Nazi youth attempted to force out foreigners who were seeking asylum in Germany. First the mob firebombed a 10-story hostel in which Romanian gypsies were housed. Then they stormed the building next door. A residence for Vietnamese ‘guest workers,’ and set it on fire.” (Levin and McDevitt 1999: 98). The police were outnumbered and overpowered. This violence sparked outbursts in at least a dozen other German cities. It is a miracle that no one was killed.

Eli Plenk: 

Though the U.S. certainly also has violence against immigrants and a good deal of racism, it comes from a very different understanding of the relationship between ethnicity and the state. Our history is one that arguably begins with settler colonialism; a colonial nation-building process that necessitated the speedy enfranchisement of European immigrants to the Americas so they could “settle” the land. That history comes along with its own genocidal story: the systematic and near total destruction of Native American civilizations. Though we cannot delve into that history here I bring it up only to acknowledge that both citizenship regimes have their roots in deadly and destructive ideas about blood, foreigners, and the (re)population of specific political territories we have come to call nation-states. 

I bring up the history of the US because I think something can be learned from contrasting its understanding of immigration with Germany’s approach to the topic. The U.S. is often idealized as an ethnic and cultural “melting pot.” Though streets in the U.S. are hardly paved with gold and racial tensions run high, I think there is a sense (even among relatively conservative populations) that the U.S. is a multiethnic nation of people who come from all over the world. Though the far right tries to paint a different picture of the U.S. their version of history has not become the dominant narrative, at least not yet.

Because of this American understanding of itself as an amalgamation of other places, racial and ethnic identification looks very different there than it does in Germany and many other European countries. People in the U.S. certainly do not always identify with a specific ethnic group, often preferring to simply call themselves white or black. But many people also identify as Irish American, Mexican American, or Jewish American, to name but a few. If asked about their ethnicity I do not think anyone living in the U.S. would respond “American.” To the contrary, most would find the idea of someone being ethnically American utterly bizarre. Because the U.S. is understood as a country of immigrants, many people (even those whose families have been in the country for centuries) identify strongly with these bi-national or bi-cultural identities. I grew up in Boston, which has large Irish and Italian American communities. I think many of the people in these groups connect with their roots in Europe but also understand themselves as deeply American. That identification with multiple, at times overlapping ethnic and national identities is pretty common in the United States and has been since at least the beginning the 20th century, when the largest wave of immigration occurred. 

Alessandra Malli:

This is interesting because in Germany hyphenated identities, like the ones you are describing, do not really exist. In mainstream discourse on ethnicity here, all people fall into one of two categories: German or “a person with a migration background” (“Menschen mit Migrationshintergrund”); “us,” and “them.” What exactly “migration background” means is quite unclear to the broad public. It is used as a blanket term for both immigrants and people who are not white (but may in fact be legally and/or culturally German). Often understood as a substitute for the term foreigner (Ausländer), it places non-whites in a perpetual state of otherness. The term implies that those without German “blood” will always be foreigners no matter how long their families have lived in Germany. Indeed people our age whose grandparents came from Turkey in the 1950s are still seen as having a “migration background” even though they are not migrants in any sense. This term is so broad that some academics object to its usage, preferring more precise language (Settlemeyer 2010: 7).

Joshua Kwesi Aikins – an academic at Bielefeld University and activist  – notes that the term “migration background” is highly problematic because it is based on a binary between white Germans and everyone else. He suggested the introduction of the term “diasporic connection,” which stresses the fact that people often live in Germany with German citizenship but still maintain some kind of connection to another national community. He also uses the term people of color when referring to himself and all people affected by racism. Aikins puts forward this phrase as another more accurate, widely recognized term that could be used in addition to “migration background.”

Eli Plenk: 

It seems like this question of language is important, not only in relation to terminology but also when it comes to various understandings of cultural belonging. In the United States, the term culture is often used as a mask for racialist rhetoric. This seems to be the case in Germany as well. In a recent conversation with Emilia Roig – a researcher and doctoral student at the Zentrum Marc Bloch (The Franco-German Research Center for the Social Sciences) – she brought up the fact that students of Turkish origin and others with a so-called migration background are often put into separate classes or schools because they are seen as culturally and linguistically deficient, even if they grew up in Germany. This process is widespread throughout the country and amounts to de facto segregation. Some of those students are indeed immigrants who do not speak German and need extra support, but many others speak perfect German and are fully capable of being in classes with their white peers. This is one of the many ways in which the discourse on German “blood” reaches far beyond legal conventions into the daily lives of non-white people in Germany. Because they are culturally and racially distinct from white Germans, these youth are denied opportunities to which they should be entitled. They are denied access to equal education purely because of the color of their skin. 

Alessandra Malli:

That is certainly true. Policies like this are all too common in Germany. Another good example of the relationship between ethnic and legal definitions of belonging is the story of Gerson Liebl (Nordhausen 2008). His quest for citizenship further illustrates how racism informs current approaches to belonging in Germany. Liebl came to Germany in 1991 from Togo and applied for German citizenship. His grandfather was a German doctor who moved to Togo during Germany’s colonial foray into Africa and subsequently married Liebl’s grandmother; a black Togolese woman. At that time German law did not allow marriages between Germans and Togolese so his grandparents could only marry under Togolese law, which permitted interracial relationships. Because Liebl has German ancestry, he assumed he was entitled to German citizenship, something that was stipulated in the 1913 citizenship law. When he moved here he applied for citizenship but was rejected because the German state did not recognize his grandparents’ marriage. To secure their status, Liebl and his wife applied for asylum here. They were hoping that this would allow them to stay in the country long enough to fight for their right to become citizens, but after 19 years of legal and political battles with the German state Liebl was deported back to Togo in 2009.

The German authorities did offer him unlimited residency, but he rejected this, saying he deserved nothing short of citizenship given his German lineage. In this particular case Germany reaffirmed colonial law by preserving a traditional notion of Germany as a white nation. It is clear that Germany’s colonial past - though rarely discussed - still has repercussions in the present and particularly in laws regarding citizenship.

Eli Plenk: 

But many people have been given German citizenship by claiming that they have a connection to Germany via a grandfather or some other ancestor. Indeed there is a word in German for people like this: Aussiedler. Can you explain what that means and how it relates to immigration policy?

Alessandra Malli:

The term Aussiedler or Spätaussiedler refers to people who are ethnically German but live outside of Germany, mostly in Central and Eastern Europe as well as the former Soviet Union. This term is of course premised on the idea that there is such a thing as an ethnic German: someone who has no political attachment to the state but rather a cultural or ancestral attachment to the nation. 

Eli Plenk:

It seems like this brings us back to the contested notion of German “blood.” 

Alessandra Malli:

Absolutely. Often (Spät-)Aussiedler come from families who have not lived in Germany for generations. If they can prove that they are German culturally, linguistically or ancestrally it is quite easy for them to gain citizenship here. The government has historically justified this policy by arguing that Germans in the Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries were discriminated against because of their German roots. To a certain extent, this preferential immigration policy has its origins in Cold War antagonisms between West Germany and the Soviet Union. 

People like Gerson Liebl from Germany’s former colonies in Africa do not have this right, though they may also be German culturally, linguistically and/or ancestrally. This discrepancy is the result of a culture and government that has been very slow to acknowledge that there are non-white people with Germany ancestors. 

Though attitudes are beginning to change, people of color with German roots (like Gerson  Liebl) are still generally not seen as German and therefore excluded from ethnically rooted citizenship clauses. The term Spät-Aussiedler is essentially reserved for whites of German descent, mostly from Poland, the former Soviet Union, and other parts of Eastern Europe. Since 1950 almost 4.5 million people have migrated to Germany as Spät-Aussiedler. Interestingly this includes a substantial number of Jews. (BAMF 2011: 49). 

Eli Plenk: 

Yes! What about that? Are Jews considered part of this sort of German diaspora? And if so which ones? Jews have traditionally been defined as ethnically distinct from Germans, a policy that was taken to an extreme during Nazi times.

Alessandra Malli:

There is certainly a tradition in Germany of seeing Jews as a distinct ethnic group that cannot become German. However the Jews who did come to Germany as (Spät-)Aussiedler were admitted because of their German ancestry. The government argued that they were persecuted in the Soviet Union as Germans and no distinction was made between those individuals who were Jewish and other Soviet refugees of German ancestry.

Eli Plenk: 

You mentioned that Germany has a long tradition of seeing Jews as others, a tradition that clearly predates Hitler’s rise to power. I want to share just a bit of information I found on this while reading Rogers Brubaker’s comparative analysis of citizenship practices in France and Germany. He writes that in 1913 when the first comprehensive citizenship law was established in Germany many politicians here feared “a massive flood of Slavic and Jewish immigrants from the east” (Brubaker 1994: 134). The Auslandsdeutsche clause in that law (which was essentially a precursor to the current Spätaussiedler clause) was designed to recruit a racially “desirable stock of potential immigrants” (Brubaker 1994: 116) which would in turn allow Germany to have a robust workforce without having to admit “eastern” peoples who were perceived as inferior.

You brought up the Nuremberg Laws earlier, which I think can be seen as a direct descendant of this early antisemetic citizenship clause. Though certainly more radically racist than this early legislation, both laws denied that Jews could be ethnically German. Again language seems key. The Nuremberg Laws “changed the status of German Jews to that of Jews in Germany, thus “legally” establishing the framework that eventually led to the Holocaust” (Bradsher 2010) by painting Jews as perpetual outsiders who were not part of the nation and therefore not entitled to the legal protection given by the state.

What is surprising to me is that after World War II the 1913 law stayed on the books and a racial understanding of citizenship continued to dominate both law and culture in Germany.

Alessandra Malli:

Yes, there is no question it is odd that there is some continuity from Nazi racial law. However it is important to remember that the Nazis did not invent a racist ideology overnight. They rather radicalized and codified thoughts and feelings that were certainly present in German discourse long before 1933 and (consequently) have continued to be around after 1945. It is perhaps unsurprising that this law did not change until 1999 given the nativist tone which was used to speak about migrants as “foreigners” until quite recently. The 1913 laws took a long time to change and the xenophobia that its approach to citizenship and nationality epitomized is still a problem in Germany, even if the law is now slightly more progressive. These ideas will take a long time to change.

Given Germany’s tragic history it is clear that the nation has some special responsibilities towards Jews in general and especially to German Jews whose citizenship was taken away from them during the Nazi times. Most of Germany’s current Jewish population is Russian and emigrated from the Soviet Union and it’s successor states in the 1990s after the Fall of the Iron Curtain. Though some came earlier as (Spät-)Aussiedler many more came as Kontingentflüchtlinge or Jewish refugees; a category established soon after Germany’s reunification in order to help Jews fleeing Soviet antisemitism. At this point the German government acknowledged that many Jews were persecuted in the Soviet Union because they were Jewish and therefore needed a place to take refuge. 

Eli Plenk: 

It is clear that Germany has done a good deal to help Jews, yet some of the fundamentally racist attitudes that led to the Holocaust are still embedded in the German psyche and institutionalized in German law. Citizenship law was one of the primary vehicles used to disenfranchise Jews and it seems to me it is now being used to marginalize immigrants and people of color here. The new law is better than the last but it still leaves a lot to be desired.

Alessandra Malli:

That is true, though comparisons of this nature are dangerous. Citizenship law often engenders a level of institutionalized racism and xenophobia because all nation-states are – to a certain extent – built on exclusion and or at least differentiation. Some belong here because others do not. What it means to be German is inextricably linked with what it means to be not German. However comparing the current situation to the Nazi era and linking it to the Holocaust seems dangerous. Whenever we compare something to the Holocaust we risk losing sight of just how horribly gruesome it was. Nothing really compares to it and probably nothing ever will.

Eli Plenk: 

Ok sure, what we see now is probably not the beginnings of genocide but I think there are similarities worth discussing.

Alessandra Malli:

Yes, there certainly are some. Racism is always dangerous and often leads down a violent road. Going back to a topic you brought up earlier, I would like to spend a bit of time addressing this German sense of cultural and ethnic insularity, which is not only different from the United States model but also unique when compared to other European countries like France and the United Kingdom Unlike those countries, Germany is a so called “belated nation.” Its roots only go back as far as the German Confederation of 1815; a loose affiliation of largely autonomous German speaking states which evolved into the German Empire only in 1871 and eventually the German Republic in 1918. Unlike the French, Germans do not have a long shared cultural or national history. Rather Germany was more of an amalgamation of small, almost tribal states that until relatively recently did not have a shared cultural or political community. Fostering this community after 1871 required collective reference points like language, culture, and eventually ethnicity. 

Eli Plenk: 

Indeed both exclusion and standardization seem to be common features of national unification in Germany and beyond. Brubaker argues that citizenship is premised on a notion of “social closure” which amounts to a cultural and/or political circling of the wagons; a defensive stance that re-inscribes the division between one group and another by using legal frameworks to institutionalize perceived (and often artificially constructed) differences. What is interesting is that in Germany this closure was constructed along ethnic rather than political lines. Unlike in France, national values were articulated as outgrowths of a common cultural heritage rather than a common political ideology. That strikes me as relatively unique and deeply dangerous.

Alessandra Malli:

One of the primary failings of the German model lies in its inability to accommodate multiple forms of national belonging. If German is your ethnicity and your nationality there is not much room for you to be Turkish or Russian as well as German, one always has to choose. Such is the case with dual citizenship even after the reforms of the 1999 citizenship law. That year an “option model” was installed in the law, which allowed children from non-citizen parents to become citizens by birth if one of their parents had legally resided in Germany for eight years. Though it may seem small from a US perspective, this was a radical step for Germany, a country that has long objected to any form of jus soli citizenship. But this change came with a catch. In practice it meant that many children became dual citizens at birth. And though Germany was grudgingly willing to accept some brand of jus soli, it was not ready to accept a mass of dual citizens with what many people viewed as competing loyalties. So it was decided by parliament that these children would have to choose which citizenship they want to keep between the ages of 18 and 23. They are not allowed to keep both. Though the government couched this decision in discussions regarding practicality (voting in two countries, serving in two armies etc.), I believe the motivation behind it had more to do with nationalistic attitudes about loyalty.

In 2011 German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said that “those who live with us have to take a stand for Germany”. (“Wer bei uns lebt, muss sich zu diesem Land bekennen”, Federal Ministry for the Interior 2011). Now some children of immigrants can become Germans by virtue of their birth, but they are asked to give up their nationality and often – it seems – their culture in order to do so. This is a scary approach to integration and one that unfairly targets specific immigrant communities. (Spät-)Aussiedler have never been asked to give up their second or former citizenship, perhaps because the nation views this specific population as already German enough. “Ethnic” Germans need not prove they are truly German but other immigrants (who are often people of color) are not so lucky. Looked on with suspicion often because of their skin color, these individuals must prove their loyalty to the state.

Eli Plenk: 

All of this leads me to wonder what exactly citizenship does, both in Germany and around the world. Is citizenship a reaffirmation of cultural linkages, a commitment to specific political ideologies, a geographic accident, or all of the above? Is it tribal or supranational? Global or local? What is citizenship for and has it outlived its usefulness? Many scholars (Sassen, Appadurai, Boyarin, Anzaldúa, Bhabha, Virilio, Braidotti etc.) have argued that we are living in an increasingly post-national era. Does this mean citizenship is irrelevant?

Alessandra Malli:

No I do not think citizenship is irrelevant. It is certainly true that the world is more connected than ever before and Europe in particular is beginning to look more like a country than a continent. Indeed living in the European Union with a German passport can be misleading. You begin to feel as if national citizenship is irrelevant. And though it may be at some point in the near future, it is not right now. I agree with Howard, who writes, “since citizenship, immigration, and asylum policies are generally implemented on the national level...noncitizens are excluded from taking part in decisions that may directly affect their lives” (Howard 2009: 7). To put it briefly, citizenship matters because we have not yet found a way for people to participate in political discourse on the nation level without it. Stateless individuals cannot be part of the political community; their voices often cannot be heard within democratic discourse.

Eli Plenk: 

And this seems to me an argument for expanding Germany’s approach to citizenship so that it can include all those individuals who live here and want to be included in the political and cultural life of this country. Given its history it seems Germany in particular should be a model of what inclusive democracy can look like in the 21st century. Let us hope it’s up to the task.


Our special thanks go to Joshua Kwesi Aikins, Emilia Roig and Rainer Ohliger whom we interviewed in June 2013.




BAMF (2011): Migrationsbericht des Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge im Auftrag der Bundesregierung, http://www.bamf.de/SharedDocs/Anlagen/DE/Publikationen/Migrationsberichte/migrationsbericht-2011.pdf;jsessionid=0B9EA056691710922A5ACD356859DFB7.1_cid294?__blob=publicationFile

BAMF: Kontingentflüchtling, http://www.bamf.de/DE/Service/Left/Glossary/_function/glossar.html?lv2=1364182&lv3=1504448

Bradsher, G. (2010): Archives Receives Original Nazi Documents That "Legalized" Persecution of Jews: http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2010/winter/nuremberg.html

Brubaker, R. (1994): Citizenship and nationhood in France and Germany. Cambridge, Mass. [u.a.]: Harvard Univ. Press.

Bundesministerium des Inneren (2011): Interview, http://www.bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/Interviews/DE/2011/06/bm_straubinger_tagblatt.html

Bundesregierung (2013): Kontingentflüchtlinge, http://www.bundesregierung.de/Content/DE/Lexikon/IB/K/kontingentfluechtlinge.html

Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (2012): Die soziale Situation in Deutschland, www.bpb.de/nachschlagen/zahlen-und-fakten/soziale-situation-in-deutschland/61646/migrationshintergrund-i

CDU (1982): Ergebnisse der Koalitionsgespräche: http://www.kas.de/wf/doc/kas_26363-544-1-30.pdf?110902100831

Federal Ministry of the Interior (2013): Immigration in Germany: http://www.zuwanderung.de/ZUW/EN/Home/home_node.html;jsessionid=97FBC2D8BF4107774DDFDA1C9D17F3D6.2_cid373

Howard, M. M. (2009): The Politics of Citizenship in Europe, Cambridge University Press.

Hübner, B. (2009): Abschiebung von GersonLiebl. Das istrassistisch, in: taz: http://www.taz.de/!30709/

Levin, J. and Mcdevitt, J. 1999. Hate Crimes. In: Kurtz, L. eds. 1999. Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace & Conflict. New York: Academic Press, pp. 89-101.

Nordhausen, F. (2008): Ein Kohlhaas aus Togo, in: Berliner Zeitung: http://www.berliner-zeitung.de/archiv/gerson-liebl-will-deutscher-sein-wie-sein-grossvater--dafuer-kaempft-er-seit-achtzehn-jahren---gegen-alle-instanzen-ein-kohlhaas-aus-togo,10810590,10606162.html

Settlemeyer, A./ Erbe, J. (2010): Migrationshintergrund. ZurOperationalisierung des Begriffs in der Berufsbildungsforschung: http://www.bibb.de/dokumente/pdf/wd_112_migrationshintergrund.pdf



Interviewee biographies:


Joshua Kwesi Aikins is a doctoral student in history and sociology at Bielefield University and an activist who has worked on many intitatives related to minorities in Germany. His is currently writing his dissertation on the politics of development in Ghana. He is particularly interested in the dynamics of interaction between Western-style and indigenous political institutions there. His areas of expertise include colonialism, migration, and diasporic identity formation.


Emilia Roig is a doctoral student in political science and researcher at the Centre Marc Bloch; a Franco-German social science research center. Her dissertation aims to analyse the impact of the development of the private care sector (in particular in-home personal services such as childcare, cleaning and other reproductive work) on intersectional gender equality in France and Germany. Her work focuses on the relationship between white supremacy, class exploitation, and gender inequality.


Rainer Ohliger is a social scientist and historian based in Berlin. He is co-founder and board member of the Network Migration in Europe, an NGO dealing with issues of migration, collective memory and political education. Ohliger’s main field of expertise is historical and international migration, (public) representation of migrants and minorities and interethnic relations. 

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