03:02:34 pmCategories: Philosophies of integration

French versus Germanic national identity

I don’t have the habit of commenting news here, but an article in Der Spiegel (English version, link by Erkan’s fielddiary) caught my attention. First I didn’t really understand what it was about; natality rate in Germany going down…? Yes, that was obviously the case, but I was soon to discover that this was not the main challenge presented in the article. Further down I read that: “German pre-schools will soon be filling up with children who are neither German nor Christian.” Got to change your naturalisation procedures then, I thought.

But as I read on, I understood that changing the way German nationality is obtained wouldn’t help: “Germans are not only dying out, but they're slowly being replaced by non-Germans.” And so on. (“Will the German national anthem one day be sung in Turkish?”).

I should in fact have got the clue from the title “On becoming Un-German”. And curiously, I should also have got the clue from a news reportage I’d watched just a few minutes before. It was about the children born to French women and German soldiers during World War 2. The reporter said that the ideology of Nazism didn’t encourage the Germans to have relations with the French women, who contrary to the Danes and Norwegians, were seen as abâtardi (“degenerated”, from “bastard”).

A similar discourse on “Norwegians” slowly being replaced by “non-Norwegains” is present in Norway as well. One can say many things on the republican notion of French identity, but at least it’s not overtly racialised. Thus, I doubt that a text like the one in Der Spiegel could have been written in a major French newspaper.


Comment from: Giovanni [Visitor]

Hallo Cicilie,
I am pleased to read your blog, and also something about your previous research in London, for your PhD. I actually “fell” on your site from antropologi.info’s forum. My fieldwork, just begun, focuses on other issues (political representations and social exclusion of marginal groups of Roma in Italy and Romania), but some basic questions are similar to yours (urban organization of power, or social exclusion and practices of citizneship). And actually when I was in paris two years ago I knew slam poets, a young and very good poet.
I was going to post a comment on my blog to link your blog, and decided to ask you first.

Regarding France and Germany’s identity and politics of citizenship, a fascinating introduction is Rogers Brubaker’s Citizenship and Nationhood in France and Germany (Cambridge UP ?), that you probably already know.

giovanni (gopk.blogspot.com)

20/05/07 @ 01:07
Comment from: [Member]

Hello Giovanni,

Thanks for your comment! Your blog and your research seem very interesting and I’m looking forward to follow your fieldwork as it progresses. Funnily, just a two days ago I was invited to apply for a guest professor position at a university in Roma. I’m curious to know where you discovered slam poetry in Paris.

Please feel free to write a post linking to my blog - I’m looking forward to reading it!

best regards,

20/05/07 @ 11:06
Comment from: Giovanni [Visitor]

Hi, I just posted few lines in my blog. Rome must be very interesting. I know a PhD student in urban anthropology there, who is now in the field in Sarajevo.

The contact for the slam-poet I met in Paris 2 years ago is Gabriel, gabwiel@free.fr, a young and very good clarinettist (on the Klezmer scene).

Please, bring my greetings to Gabriel if you meet each other,


20/05/07 @ 15:22

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