The treatment of minorities as ‘novel occurrences’ destroys the formation of minority ethnic identity within the larger ethnic core identity. In the United States, ethnic revival movements have been active since the 1960s, carving out ethnic identities such as African-American and Latino-American. In Europe, the predominant belief is that “there are only migrants, not minorities” due to a lack of focus on “the emergence of native minorities” (El-Tayeb). Native minorities are not encouraged to express their heritage, and instead fill the role of cultural tokens and foils to ‘real Europeans.’ The status of children born to immigrants in most European nations further complicates the formation of ethnic identification—these children are “somewhere in the middle,” not allowed to claim the nationality of the country they were born in, but similarly isolated from their supposed “home” nation (El-Tayeb). These individuals’ attempts at integration are frustrated by a lack of support from the ethnic core.
For the research project that I will be working on in Berlin, I thought about what broad themes interested me. The list was short: migration, identity, nationalism, and economics. The only problem with this list is that each theme encompasses a huge array of topics; each could be subdivided into concepts that gained specificity at each level. I made a web of all these ideas, linked them all together with arrows, and arrived at four comprehensive research questions. I then took these four questions and wove them into one all-encompassing question: How do economic growth and recession affect Germany nationalism and perceptions of minority groups? I believe that this question ties in nicely with the program topic mentioned above, as it deals with immigration, minority groups, and perceptions of immigrants within the sphere of economics. With this research question, I am hoping to explore how German nationalism fluctuates in relation to conceptions of European Union nationalism, how the perception of immigrants and minority groups fluctuates as the business cycle takes its course, how German nationalism itself changes in relation to the business cycle, and how nationalism is tied in with economic theories. These are all still broad and abstract topics, but I believe that a strong economy will be linked to the following ideas:
-A strengthening of German national identity at the expense of European identity
-Greater acceptance of immigrants and minority groups
-An expansion of who is included in conceptions of German nationalism
-German nationalism is influenced by both socialism and capitalism