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Between Hospitality and Hostility: Understanding Shifts in German Immigration Policy

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dc.contributor.advisor Brust, Imke Krutkova, Mariya 2016-07-20T13:01:12Z 2016-07-20T13:01:12Z 2016
dc.description.abstract Starting in the post-war period and continuing into the present day, the immigration policy in Germany has been unstable, oscillating between progressive acceptance of immigrants during certain times, and retrograde conservative measures during other periods. This paper traces these shifts in policy starting in the 1940s and aims to discern its underlying causes. The questions raised are the following: What are the political, economic, and discursive forces responsible for changes in policy? What role do attitudes towards immigrants play in influencing policy? And finally, what factors influence formation and expression of these attitudes? The contextual factors found to correlate with conservative changes in policy are economic crises, high influx of immigrants, negative discourse about immigrants, and conservative majority in the government. These factors were found to affect policy by mobilizing negative sentiments against immigrants. Expression of negative sentiments, often steered by right-wing extremist groups, influenced what parties held the majority in the government and what course of action the government would take with regard to immigration. The specific factors that contribute to shaping of negative attitudes towards immigrants are perceptions of them as a threat to cultural and economic identity, as well as to collective security. The expression of these attitudes was fueled by right-wing propaganda and negative portrayals of immigrants in the media during the times of economic instability and high influx of immigrants. Attitudes thus have a strong effect in determining the direction of immigration policy in Germany, and should be considered a target area for policy makers. The negative stereotypes about immigrants have been reinforced by inadequate integration of immigrants. Proactive integration policies, which would facilitate political, economic, and social inclusion of immigrants into the German society are needed in order to improve perceptions about immigrants and thereby reduce future risk of conservative shifts in policy.
dc.description.sponsorship Bi-College (Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges). Department of German and German Studies
dc.language.iso eng
dc.title Between Hospitality and Hostility: Understanding Shifts in German Immigration Policy
dc.type Thesis
dc.rights.access Open Access

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