The Demands of Integration: Space, Place and Genre in Berlin
This dissertation argues that the metaphor of integration, which describes the incorporation of immigrants into the national body, functions as a way to exclude "Muslim" immigrants from German national identity, as these groups are those most often deemed "un-integratable" (<italic>unintegrierbar</italic>). By looking at cultural products, I explore how the spatial metaphor of integration is both contested and reproduced in a variety of narratives.
One of the recurring themes in integration debates focuses on finding a balance between multiculturalist strategies of population management; the regulation and enforcement of the third article of the German Basic Law, which guarantees gender parity; and the public religious life of conservative Islamic social movements like Salafism, which demand gender segregation as a tenet of faith. Discourses of women's rights as human rights and identity politics are the two most frequent tactical interventions on the integration landscape. My dissertation explores how identity, performance and experience of gendered oppression manifest in the autobiographical novels of Turkish-German women, comic books, journalistic polemics, activist video and the activities of the social work organization <ital>Projekt Heroes</ital>. Reading a broad array of cultural products allows me to explore the tension between the metaphor of integration and the reluctance of some to reenvision German national identity, with specific attention to how this tension plays out in space and place. Through literary analysis, participant-observation and interviews, I explore how the language of integration shapes the space of the nation and limits what the space of the nation could become. I argue that the tone of integration debates over the past decade has become increasingly shrill, and propose that limited and strategic silence may offer potential as a political strategy for reenvisioning modes of immigration incorporation.
Dissertation edited in August 2018 at request of the author and with approval from the dissertation advisor and the Graduate School. Personal, sensitive information was removed from pages 30-34 and a note added to page 45.--mjf33 2018-08-08
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