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Kanak Attak Strikes Back: Challenging German Citizenship and Integration Policies

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Abstract:

How do immigrant intellectuals react to the citizenship and integration debates in Germany in the last decade? After the dramatic transformation of the German citizenship law in 1999, the relevant debates on immigrant integration policies are increasingly discussed around three major questions: Who is German; what are the criteria of belonging to German society and polity and how will Germany proceed with immigrant integration policies. Although many studies focus on the German state authorities' perspective to these three questions, in this paper, we aim to reflect the social entanglements and paradoxes of immigrant groups, specifically of Kanak Attak, and how they respond to the changing German citizenship law and immigrant integration policies in the last decade. Kanak Attak is a social movement, a part of the transformation of the struggle of the immigrants by 1990s and 2000s, however also it presents a new social movement in Germany by a newly forming immigrant intelligentsia, which is different than current stereotypes of immigrant groups. They enter to the stage of struggles of migration in Germany with the provocative name of Kanake which is indeed a pejorative word for foreigners in Germany to draw the attention not to ethnic difference rather to political difference which takes position against the mainstream and conformism (hegemony). The new perspective that they develop is the 'autonomy of migration' which perceives migration as a social movement with a special kind of political power. Kanak Attak focuses on the struggles of migration as their starting point of their analysis in order to understand how racism reorganizes itself in each crisis, and in this case the crisis of German citizenship and immigrant integration. Drawing on Gramsci, we discuss how this intellectual group unveil the integration discourse as the new hegemonic project which, they argue, hierarchizes the immigrant groups and legitimizes the exclusion. We show how Kanak Attak forms a counter-hegemonic discourse through their claim for legalization and inclusion in Germany. In conclusion, we argue citizenship as belonging is not as an institution that is imposed by the state, but it is a collective process which all members of the society can contribute to its formation (Balibar, 2000)
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Association:
Name: Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies
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http://www.ces.columbia.edu


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p400084_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Yurdakul, Gokce. and Gursel, Duygu. "Kanak Attak Strikes Back: Challenging German Citizenship and Integration Policies" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p400084_index.html>

APA Citation:

Yurdakul, G. and Gursel, D. "Kanak Attak Strikes Back: Challenging German Citizenship and Integration Policies" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Seventeenth International Conference of the Council for European Studies, Grand Plaza, Montreal, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-27 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p400084_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: How do immigrant intellectuals react to the citizenship and integration debates in Germany in the last decade? After the dramatic transformation of the German citizenship law in 1999, the relevant debates on immigrant integration policies are increasingly discussed around three major questions: Who is German; what are the criteria of belonging to German society and polity and how will Germany proceed with immigrant integration policies. Although many studies focus on the German state authorities' perspective to these three questions, in this paper, we aim to reflect the social entanglements and paradoxes of immigrant groups, specifically of Kanak Attak, and how they respond to the changing German citizenship law and immigrant integration policies in the last decade. Kanak Attak is a social movement, a part of the transformation of the struggle of the immigrants by 1990s and 2000s, however also it presents a new social movement in Germany by a newly forming immigrant intelligentsia, which is different than current stereotypes of immigrant groups. They enter to the stage of struggles of migration in Germany with the provocative name of Kanake which is indeed a pejorative word for foreigners in Germany to draw the attention not to ethnic difference rather to political difference which takes position against the mainstream and conformism (hegemony). The new perspective that they develop is the 'autonomy of migration' which perceives migration as a social movement with a special kind of political power. Kanak Attak focuses on the struggles of migration as their starting point of their analysis in order to understand how racism reorganizes itself in each crisis, and in this case the crisis of German citizenship and immigrant integration. Drawing on Gramsci, we discuss how this intellectual group unveil the integration discourse as the new hegemonic project which, they argue, hierarchizes the immigrant groups and legitimizes the exclusion. We show how Kanak Attak forms a counter-hegemonic discourse through their claim for legalization and inclusion in Germany. In conclusion, we argue citizenship as belonging is not as an institution that is imposed by the state, but it is a collective process which all members of the society can contribute to its formation (Balibar, 2000)


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