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Title: Marking the boundaries : a study of German national belonging
Author: McKetty, Carol Christine
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 7896
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2012
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The need to belong to communities is a basic human need and the notion of belonging is central to how we define who we are. But belonging to a national community is not always clear-cut. The paradox of belonging to the German community was made evident in 2005 when a census category—‘persons with a migration background’—was introduced. The new category served to cast some people to the community’s periphery. Instead of ‘Germans’ and ‘foreigners’, the census now records ‘Germans’ and ‘persons with a migration background’. Included in the latter category are German citizens. Germans with a(n obvious) connection to elsewhere who were once counted as ‘German’ are now placed in the newly established census category and counted together with foreigners. This ethnographic study examined how ordinary Germans conceive of Germanness and who they imagine their German community to include. The study asked: What makes a person German? Analysis was couched in historical and contemporary contexts that inform the data. To avoid being mired a priori in the notion of a German Volk, people of various backgrounds having membership in the German nation-state were asked who they take to be ‘German’ and where they draw their lines around the imagined German community. The research data suggests that a penchant for prestige which has long characterized German nationalism continues to influence who is seen as German. Moreover, the boundaries around the characteristics deemed prestigious are guarded by people who feel themselves, subjectively, to be members of the community since they benefit as individuals from the perceived high status of the nation of which they are a member.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Belonging (Social psychology) ; Citizenship