Blood and culture?: Contemporary German nationhood and the political discourse on migrants and immigration in Germany

Semmelroggen, Jan
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University of Guelph

This thesis investigates to what extent the commonly ascribed ethno-cultural definition of German nationhood shapes the political debate on migrants and immigration in Germany. The analysis of parliamentary debate transcripts and interviews with influential policymakers and high-ranking civil servants has revealed that German nationhood in the context of immigration debate is defined through civic values rather than ethno-cultural identity. As a result, the political debate on migrants and immigration in the German parliament make no reference to an ethno-cultural conception of German nationhood. Instead there is a strong consensus among German policymakers that the civic, democratic and legalistic values that are enshrined in the German constitution define German nationhood.

contemporary German nationhood, political discourse, migrants, immigration, civic values