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Sara Wallace Goodman

Deniz Göktürk, David Gramling, and Anton Kaes, eds., Germany In Transit: Nation and Migration 1955-2005 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007)

Anthony Messina, The Logics and Politics of Post-WWII Migration to Western Europe (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007)

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Asiye Kaya

The year 2011 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the bilateral recruitment

agreement that the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) signed with

the Republic of Turkey in 1961. According to official figures, the immigrant

group with roots in Turkey and its offspring make the second largest

group currently after ethnic German emigrants (resettlers) in Germany.

Understanding this migration experience and the broader issues of immigration

in Germany is the motivation behind this special issue.

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Andreas M. Wüst

This article is about immigrant-origin politicians running for a Bundestag mandate in the 2013 election. Patterns of candidacy, electoral success and failure of the respective candidates and parliamentarians are systematically analyzed. The main finding is that politicians of immigrant origin are serious contenders for seats in the Bundestag, and political parties seem to have quite some interest in their election. It is increasingly the second immigrant generation that is involved politically, and, as the career patterns indicate, it is likely that many of them are going to stay longer in politics. Consequently, a closer look at immigrant-origin candidates and parliamentarians is of merit for both the study of parliamentary representation and of the political integration of immigrants and their descendants.

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Paul Apostolidis

This essay considers whether legal rights remain a core resource for transforming the social situation of low-income workers in the United States. In particular, how does the recent expansion of the immigrant workforce in the US affect the prospects for workers to generate a symbiosis between legalist struggles and rank-and-file movement activism? I demonstrate that the migration narratives of Mexican immigrant union activists intervene in the law's formation of political subjects, such that the thorough disciplining of a docile subject by the law does not necessarily result from legalist activism. Instead, migration stories furnish alternative sources of identity that can mitigate these effects and spur the translation of legalist struggle into radical-democratic unionism. My analysis is based on interviews with immigrant workers who led a highly unusual movement of resistance from 1995-2005 at a large beef processing plant in Washington State.

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Jacqueline Andall

The electoral triumph of the Northern League in 2008 was particularly

pronounced in Veneto. Of all the regional electoral constituencies, it

was only in Veneto 1 (Padua, Rovigo, Verona, and Vicenza) that the

League emerged as the number one party, accumulating 28.2 percent of

the vote, ahead of both the Popolo della Libertà (PdL) and the Partito

Democratico (PD). Just two years earlier, the party had polled 11.5 percent

in the very same constituency; thus, the League’s victory in 2008

represents an impressive comeback. The high level of consensus had not

been anticipated, and the scale of the increase in support—doubling at

the national level, practically tripling in Veneto 1, and quadrupling in

some municipalities in the region—was therefore especially dramatic.

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Living with Uncertainty

Indefinite Immigration Detention

Melanie Griffiths

Immigration detention is a central tenet of the British government’s response to immigration but remains under-theorised in academia. This article uses testimonies drawn from anthropological research conducted with detainees at an Immigration Removal Centre to examine lived experiences of immigration detention and explore the relationships between detainees and the British state. It suggests that despite being a space of extreme control (both in terms of legislation and daily practice), immigration detention is beset with uncertainty and confusion. Examples are given of chronic instability in relation to mobility, violent ‘incidents’, time frames and access to information. The article examines the repercussions of such instability on individuals and coping strategies employed. It argues that immigration detainees live in a context of continual crisis, in which profound uncertainty becomes normalised. This disorder should be understood as a technique of power, with governance through uncertainty constructing certain immigrants as expendable, transient and ultimately, deportable.

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This open issue of German Politics and Society features three papers

that address matters of change in contemporary Germany. In our

lead article we are proud to offer yet again the work of Rainer Münz

and Ralf Ulrich, arguably among the most original researchers and

prolific writers on the crucial topic of immigration in Germany and

elsewhere in Europe. In this piece, Münz and Ulrich provide a bevy

of detailed empirical data on immigration and citizenship in Germany.

They succeed in using these rich data to construct their own

theories on immigration and citizenship in Germany that are critical

of existing policies, including those of the Red-Green government.

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Roger Karapin

Many writers have argued that anti-immigration politics in Germany

and other West European countries have been driven by radical-right

parties or the electoral maneuvering of national politicians

from established parties. Others have argued that waves of violence

against immigrants and ethnic minorities have spurred anti-immigration

politics, or that racist ideologies and socioeconomic inequality

are the root causes. By comparison, authors have paid relatively little

attention to anti-immigration mobilization at subnational levels,

including the public positions taken by subnational politicians and

the activities of movement groups, or “challengers.” Nonetheless,

research has shown that subnational politicians are often important

in pressing national campaigns for immigration controls. Moreover,

as I have argued elsewhere, anti-immigration politicians in Britain

and Germany have responded in large part to local challengers, who

were aided by political elites at local and regional levels.

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From Rhetoric to Practice

A critique of immigration policy in Germany through the lens of Turkish-Muslim women's experiences of migration

Sherran Clarence

The largest group of migrants in Germany is the Turkish people, many of whom have low skills levels, are Muslim, and are slow to integrate themselves into their host communities. German immigration policy has been significantly revised since the early 1990s, and a new Immigration Act came into force in 2005, containing more inclusive stances on citizenship and integration of migrants. There is a strong rhetoric of acceptance and open doors, within certain parameters, but the gap between the rhetoric and practice is still wide enough to allow many migrants, particularly women, to fall through it. Turkish-Muslim women bear the brunt of the difficulties faced once they have arrived in Germany, and many of them are subject to domestic abuse, joblessness and poverty because of their invisibility to the German state, which is the case largely because German immigration policy does not fully realise a role and place for women migrants. The policy also does not sufficiently account for ethnic and cultural identification, or limitations faced by migrants in that while it speaks to integration, it does not fully enable this process to take place effectively. Even though it has made many advances in recent years towards a more open and inclusive immigration policy, Germany is still a 'reluctant' country of immigration, and this reluctance stops it from making any real strides towards integrating migrants fully into German society at large. The German government needs to take a much firmer stance on the roles of migrant women in its society, and the nature of the ethnic and religious identities of Muslim immigrants, in order to both create and implement immigration policy that truly allows immigrants to become full and contributing members to German social and economic life, and to bring it in line with the European Union's common directives on immigration.

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Emmanuelle Saada

At the time of his death, the sociologist of immigration Abdelmalek Sayad (1933-1998) was putting the final touches on a collection of his principal articles—since published under the title La Double Absence.1 The publication of this collection provides, I think, a good occasion for introducing Sayad to the anglophone public, which to date has had almost no exposure to his work. In France, Sayad’s sociology has been essential not only to the study of Algerian immigration, but to the understanding of migration as a “fait social total,” a total social fact, which reveals the anthropological and political foundations of contemporary societies. The introduction of this exceptional work to American specialists of French studies is timely, moreover, because immigration and more recently, colonization have been among the most dynamic areas of research in the field in the past few years.