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Cosmopolitan Anxieties: Turkish Challenges to Citizenship and Belonging in Germanyby Ruth Mandel
Synopses & Reviews
In Cosmopolitan Anxieties, Ruth Mandel explores Germanyandrsquo;s relation to the more than two million Turkish immigrants and their descendants living within its borders. Based on her two decades of ethnographic research in Berlin, she argues that Germanyandrsquo;s reactions to the postwar Turkish diaspora have been charged, inconsistent, and resonant of past problematic encounters with a Jewish andldquo;other.andrdquo; Mandel examines the tensions in Germany between race-based ideologies of blood and belonging on the one hand and ambitions of multicultural tolerance and cosmopolitanism on the other. She does so by juxtaposing the experiences of Turkish immigrants, Jews, and andldquo;ethnic Germansandrdquo; in relation to issues including Islam, Germanyandrsquo;s Nazi past, and its radically altered position as a unified country in the postandndash;Cold War era.
Mandel explains that within Germany the popular understanding of what it means to be German is often conflated with citizenship, so that a German citizen of Turkish background can never be a andldquo;real German.andrdquo; This conflation of blood and citizenship was dramatically illustrated when, during the 1990s, nearly two million andldquo;ethnic Germansandrdquo; from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union arrived in Germany with a legal and social status far superior to that of andldquo;Turksandrdquo; who had lived in the country for decades. Mandel analyzes how representations of Turkish difference are appropriated or rejected by Turks living in Germany; how subsequent generations of Turkish immigrants are exploring new configurations of identity and citizenship through literature, film, hip-hop, and fashion; and how migrants returning to Turkey find themselves fundamentally changed by their experiences in Germany. She maintains that until difference is accepted as unproblematic, there will continue to be serious tension regarding resident foreigners, despite recurrent attempts to realize a more inclusive and andldquo;demoticandrdquo; cosmopolitan vision of Germany.
An anthropological history that traces shifts in 1990s German immigration policy regarding those within the Turkish diaspora, along with portraying the lives of Turkish immigrants.
About the Author
“In Cosmopolitan Anxieties, Ruth Mandel successfully conveys the particularities of Turkish experience in the German milieu as she moves across a variety of topics, including citizenship, cultural identity, religion, transnationalism, urbanism, and racism.”—Kevin Robins, author of The Challenge of Transcultural Diversities: Cultural Policy and Cultural Diversity
“Ruth Mandel has turned the long trajectory of her journey through the jostling identities of Turk, Muslim, Alevi, German, Jew, and American—often introspective, always nuanced, and richly painted with intense, intimate, and many-hued detail—into an intricate and yet lucid masterpiece of analytic as well as ethnographic dexterity. In the condescension of a well-meaning Berlin cultural elite toward the ‘demotic cosmopolitanism’ of the immigrants, and in the scream of irrepressible disgust evoked by the touch of an alien-seeming strand of hair, she gracefully but inexorably traces the lingering miasma of submerged or weakly confronted intolerance and challenges us to search out its traces in our own cultural milieu as well.”—Michael Herzfeld, author of The Body Impolitic: Artisans and Artifice in the Global Hierarchy of Value
“Ruth Mandel’s study of the Turks of Germany is perhaps the most important single book yet written examining the complexity and contradictions of the Muslims in today’s Europe. Looking at the various communities (Turks, Alevis, and Kurds) that make up the Turkish presence in Germany and delineating the complexity of a German identity after the Shoah and German reunification as the background to the debates about these Islamic presences, Mandel is able to provide first-hand, sophisticated answers to the most troubling questions about the shifting world of Islam in Europe. A study that will quickly become a classic for any examination of Europe and Islam.”—Sander L. Gilman, author of Multiculturalism and the Jews
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History and Social Science » Anthropology » Cultural Anthropology