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Routinization of the Israeli-Arab Conflict

The Perspective of Outsiders

Soli Vered and Daniel Bar-Tal

This study explores features of the routinization of the Israeli-Arab conflict in everyday life in Israel. Specifically, it examines how foreign students view this aspect of the culture of conflict, compared to the point of view of Israeli students born into the day-to-day reality of a society that has been engaged in an intractable conflict for decades. Findings show that foreigners perceived and identified various conflict-related routines that have been absorbed into the social and physical spaces of daily life in Israel, becoming unnoticeable to Israelis. This was the case particularly with various images and symbols of the conflict that saturate both public and private spaces, conflict-related informal norms of behavior, and the central place that the conflict occupies in private interpersonal discourse. These results are discussed in relation to the functionalities of the routinization of the conflict and its implications.

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Jeffrey J. Anderson

Twenty years after all the excitement, Germans seem to be genuinely of two conflicting minds about unification. One is characterized by awe over the accomplishments of 1989-1990, the other by disappointment and even bitterness over unfulfilled ambitions and promises. These contrasting interpretations and assessments of unification are fluid, but surface repeatedly in the quality print media. This chapter examines the recurring themes, interpretations, and narratives about unification twenty years on, and seeks to trace the interconnections between the social, economic, and political dimensions of unification. As such, these contemporary printed narratives can tell us a great deal about how a people views its recent past, what its priorities are, and how it is facing the future. The analysis reveals that public discourse on unification twenty years after the fact resembles a blind spot—look straight at it, and it disappears, replaced by blank spot—a seemingly irreducible gap between East and West. Avert one's gaze, and the spot fills in, almost seamlessly.

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‘Are We Coming to Make a Documentary or a Surrealist Film?’

Demythifying Luis Buñuel’s Tierra sin pan in Fermín Solís’s Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas

Marc Ripley

In 1933 Luis Buñuel shot Tierra sin pan [Land without bread] in the Las Hurdes region of Spain. His ethnographic documentary about this impoverished community is a relentless onslaught of decay and death, and still retains the power to shock. Fermín Solís’s 2008 graphic novel Buñuel en el laberinto de las tortugas [Buñuel in the labyrinth of tortoises] narrates the filming process of this movie. Solís renders the despair underpinning Buñuel’s film ironically, showing this to be in part a result of Buñuel’s doctoring of reality, thus achieving a demythification of this canonical film and questioning its ethical legacy. The mixed mode of comics is fundamental in exposing the irony of Tierra sin pan. Solís’s comic accomplishes this, paradoxically, by foregrounding the mythology of Buñuel the man, encouraging a new, contemporary audience to read the film as a product of Buñuel’s idiosyncrasies and obsessions rather than an unmediated instance of reality.

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Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos

This special issue of German Politics and Society offers a retrospective look at

the German Citizenship Act (Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz, StAG), which passed in

1999 and came into force in 2000.1 The law was and continues to be understood

by many academics, policymakers, and lay commentators as constituting

a “paradigm shift” in German citizenship policy and, by extension,

prevailing conceptions of German nationhood. The introduction of the law

of territory (jus soli), in particular, was greeted as a welcome acknowledgement

of Germany’s de facto status as a modern immigration country. Children

born and raised in Germany would no longer be rendered permanent

foreigners as a consequence of the dominance of the law of descent (jus sanguinis)

in the Reichs- und Staatsangehörigkeitsgesetz (RuStAG), 1913. Proponents

assumed that the reduction of the residency requirement for naturalization

would also allow greater numbers of long settled immigrants to assume the

rights and privileges of German nationality. Just as importantly, Germany

would join the European mainstream as regarded citizenship policy. The

stigma associated with its traditionally ethnic conception of nationhood

would give way to a more positive, civic identity.

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Karen Schönwälder and Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos

This article probes the consequences of Germany's 1999 citizenship reform as it pertains to the incorporation of immigrants. We maintain that the law's principled rejection of dual citizenship and related stipulation that children born into German nationality via the law's revolutionary jus soli provision choose between their German citizenship or that of their non-German parents between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three is unfair, potentially unconstitutional, and likely unworkable in administrative terms. We also argue that the decline in naturalization rates in Germany since 2000 is due to a combination of legal, administrative, and symbolic barriers in the law, as well as a lack of incentives for naturalization for immigrants from European Union member states and other rich industrialized countries. We believe that progress in the area of incorporation will require a shift in outlooks on the part of German political elites, such that immigrants are seen as potential members of a diverse community of free and equal citizens rather than untrustworthy and threatening outsiders.

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Czarina Wilpert

In the last decade, many descendants of immigrants from Turkey have been grappling with new expressions of their belongingness and workable identifiers to express their place within German society. Those searching are often citizens and young professionals who have been born or raised there. Until recently it had been assumed that incorporation though citizenship would be a sufficient basis for becoming Germans. It was also a political belief that to introduce the territorial right (ius soli) to citizenship would be a step toward Germany recognizing itself as a country of immigration. Whether or not this has been the case is addressed in this article. To do this critical events since the initiation of the settlement process and the messages communicated during this period will be examined. A review of these events and messages suggests that tradition, institutions and public discourse continue to articulate an ethnicized view of citzenship that creates barriers to identification with becoming a German. Two prototypes of responses to this situation are analyzed. Finally, there is a discussion of the understanding of citizenship required in this context.