Intersectionality and the Substantive Representation of Migrant Interests in Germany

in German Politics and Society
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The paper uses the concept of intersectionality to examine the experiences of politicians with migrant backgrounds in Germany. The last decade has seen a significant increase in the number of persons with migrant backgrounds integrating into political parties and winning elections to both federal and regional legislatures. Do the migrant experiences of these persons shape their politics? Theories of substantive representation have suggested that gender shapes representation. What about the racial and ethnic identities that often coexist with immigrant status? Moreover, how do those identities and experiences interact with the prerogatives of party, partisanship, and regional representation? This study uses data gathered from both the federal and regional level to explore and explain the role of migrant-related concerns in the political behavior and articulated preferences of politicians with migrant background in Germany. It further explores how these relate to gender, careers, representational roles, and partisan identification. The article concludes that a consideration of the interaction of migrant identity with other factors allows us to see multiple dimensions of representation in Germany today.