The aim of this paper is to offer a critique of the proposal of “methodological cosmopolitanism“ in theoretical terms and to substantiate this critique by providing an account of the dynamics of collective memory and identity in postunification Germany. In the first part, we look at the arguments about methodological cosmopolitanism and their derivative, the idea of cosmopolitan memory, illustrated by the case of Holocaust memory. In the second part we look at the case of Germany: firstly at its postwar experience of the attempted construction of “postnational“ identity, and then at more recent trends, contemporaneous with the Berlin Republic, towards a “normalization“ of national identity in Germany. The Holocaust plays a crucial, but different, role in each phase, we suggest. In the conclusion we return to more general themes, asking what the German case tells us about the cosmopolitanization thesis more generally.
Stephen Welch and Ruth Wittlinger
imagine a German identity liberated from National Socialism alongside the dystopic, violent aesthetics in Brinkmann’s attempt to bring forth Germany’s ultimate demise. The return to Kraftwerk’s technological means of representation and their simultaneous
In times of political or social crisis, issues of identity and affiliation
tend to become more salient. In response to the threatened or actual
disruption of the routines of material provision, social order, and
ideological legitimation, definitions of self and community that had
formerly been considered authoritative come under more frequent
and more extensive questioning. Responses to this condition of
uncertainty and doubt about identity and affiliation are typically
forthcoming from many different quarters: party politicians, leaders
of social movements, public intellectuals, religious authorities. Such
responses can also be quite varied as was the case, for example, in
the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Only months after the
event and with major questions about the future of the two Germanies
in the air, Jürgen Habermas surveyed the various possible sources of German identity that were on offer at that time—economic prestige
(“DM nationalism”), cultural inheritance, linguistic unity, ethnic
descent, historical fate, aesthetic experience, and constitutional patriotism—
and found all but the last seriously wanting.3 In any given
episode of crisis and questioning, most responses will ultimately
have little or no effect; the eventual reestablishment of the routines
of provision, order, and legitimation usually means that one or
another set of definitions of self and community has won out and
become authoritative for a critical mass of citizens.
This article explores the changing perception of "diversity" and "cultural difference" in Germany and shows how they were central in the construction of "self" and "other" throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries affecting minorities such as Jews, Poles, and others. It examines different levels of legal and political action toward minorities and immigrants in this process and explores how the perception and legal framework for the Turkish minority in the past sixty years was influenced by historical patterns of such perceptions and their memory. The article tries to shed some light on how the nature of coming-to-terms with the past ( Vergangenheitsbewältigung ) and the memory of the Holocaust have long prohibited a broader discussion on inclusion and exclusion in German society. It makes some suggestions as to what forced Germans in the postunification era to reconsider legislation, as well as society's approach to "self" and "other" under the auspices of the closing of the "postwar period" and a newly emerging united Europe.
Joyce Marie Mushaben
From its founding in 1949 through the dramatic events of 1989/90, the Federal Republic relied on a concept of "blood-based" citizenship (jus sanguinis), hoping to sustain ties between the peoples of the divided nation, as well as to protect "co-ethnic" groups scattered throughout historically defined eastern territories. Geographical reconfiguration, generational change and globalization processes have rendered Germany's insistence on an ethno-national citizenship paradigm detrimental to its own political and socio-economic interests. Ostensibly the real "losers" of unification, more than seven million "foreigners" and children of migrant descent are now set to become the long-term winners of Chancellor Merkel's pro-active measures to foster their integration and education. Making very effective use of EU initiatives on migration policy, Merkel has adopted a holistic approach to integration as a means of overcoming the FRG's looming demographic deficit and shortage of high-tech laborers. This study begins with profiles of three "migrant" generations and the changing opportunity structure each has encountered, leading to different degrees of identification with the new homeland. It then summarizes key features of the 2007 National Integration Plan, and examines factors allowing Merkel to blaze a trail through the perilous "immigration" territory all previous Chancellors had feared to tread. Despite internal opposition, Angel Merkel's pro-active efforts to redefine "what it means to be German" has, paradoxically, given the Christian Union a chance to modernize its own identity.
The European Union has been in its biggest ever crisis since the onset of the Greek sovereign debt crisis in 2010. Beyond the political and economic dimensions, the crisis has also sparked discussions about Germany's European identity. Some scholars have argued that Germany's behavior in the crisis signals a continuation of the process of “normalization” of its European identity toward a stronger articulation of national identity and interests, that it has “fallen out of love” with Europe. This article will seek to reassess these claims, drawing on detailed analysis of political and media discourse in Germany—from political speeches through to both broadsheet and tabloid newspapers. It will argue that the crisis is understood broadly as a European crisis in Germany, where the original values of European integration are at stake. Furthermore, the crisis is debated through the lens of European solidarity, albeit with a particular German flavor of solidarity that draws on the economic tradition of ordoliberalism. Rather than strengthening expressions of national identity, this has resulted in the emergence of a new northern European identity in contrast to Greece or “southern Europe.”
Translocal Identities of the Far Right Web
Patricia Anne Simpson
, Der Flügel self-identifies as a resistance movement of the people, an alternative to the traditional political parties, and a staunch advocate of national sovereignty as well as German identity. Predictably, Der Flügel opposes the social experiments
PEGIDA, AfD, and Memory Culture in Dresden
narrative about the destruction and rebuilding of the city and a far-right narrative about fears of losing a unique German identity and homeland—can be seamlessly linked together and thus form a collaborative discourse pattern. This makes Dresden a fertile
see not only how the explorers negotiate their European identity in comparison to African otherness but also how they use their encounters to tentatively construct a specifically German identity as it asserts itself in colonial space. Their works
Arielle Fridson Bikard
In what way does national history shape the interpretation of international events in that country's media? Germany has always had a particularly sensitive and complex relationship with Israel. The Holocaust left such a scar on German identity that the country cannot consider Israel without confronting its own history. In Israel, Germany sees a “reflection“ of its own historical and symbolic space. In this article, I draw together a close reading of major German newspapers with more interdisciplinary theoretical perspectives in order to illuminate the mechanism of what I call “mirror reading,“ and especially to reveal its workings during what I consider a key shift in the discourse on German identity. The German print media, which I treat as the activating agent in German narration of national identity, plays a central role in this reflection by projecting national symbols onto Israel. In particular, I identify the initial reception of the Israeli wall (2003-2004) as a turning point in the debate on German self-understanding after the Holocaust. I establish that there are two extremes in a continuum of how German national history can frame the Israeli wall, one making Germany an active agent and the other a passive one. Employing national symbols in the media distorts the domestic perception of foreign events. My study casts a first light on this little understood—but nonetheless crucial—phenomenon.