“Mined terrain. Handbook against the mainstream in the German integration debate” by Stefan Böckler © Ibidem-Verlag, Collage MiG
Integration – Stefan Böckler, immigration researcher, wants to subject prevailing assumptions to a critical review in his new book, Handbook Against the Trend in the German Integration Debate.
to Professor Dr. Klaus F. Jaeger Friday April 30, 2021 5:22 am|Last update: Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 12:50 PM Reading time: 3 minutes
This is an argument. Their anger is fed by the author’s experiences in administrative and scientific contexts and – as the reviewer believes – he finds truly frustrating. His experience: Whenever he refers to the factor of culture, which must be taken into account as a variable in order to explain the integration of immigrants into German society, he is met with a lack of interest or even rejection.
The heart of the article can be found in the chapter “Does Culture Matter”. It is pointed out here with great firmness that all efforts to deconstruct the concept of culture are neither categorical in and of themselves nor sufficient in any way to completely exclude the effectiveness of culture as a factor affecting self and external images, patterns of work and interrelationships. . The author convincingly asserts that this is true even if one takes into account the fact that the idea of large cultural units is the result of past identity politics.
What are these large political and social units whose culture must be taken into account in mergers? The author refers (mainly, but not constantly) to the nationality of the various immigrant groups as well as the majority society. His argument: When examining the state of amalgamation of groups and society as a whole, it should be allowed to verify empirically whether or not the respective national affiliation provides an explanation. Emphasis is placed here on the word “a”. Because the author is not constantly concerned with excluding other explanatory variables when conducting the research. What it appreciates: This research and interpretation of its results must be “multi-cause”.
In another major chapter entitled “The majority society is always in charge,” the author complains that the problems of immigrant integration are always unilaterally attributed to the prejudices of the German majority of the population. In fact, he talks about empirical studies that ignore factors on the part of immigrant groups in their planning or even reinterpret the bias-free attitudes of majority community members surveyed into negative biases in their presentation of results. Here the author neglects what should of course be for empirical research: freedom from value judgments in design and interpretation.
What is missing from this document: There is no clear definition of the term culture and integration. The role of state regulation and the media representation of integration processes are also ignored, for example the definition of the Federal Republic of Germany as a non-immigrant state, which has been valid for a very long time, or the fact that the concept of culture has been used mainly in political and media discourse since the early 1980s in order to categorize immigrants from Turkey is that they are completely foreigners and therefore do not want or want to integrate (contemporary historical facts that even conservatives now encourage not to repeat the mistakes of the last century in the policy of integration today.)
Let’s say again: This is an argument. It raises objections and counter-arguments. Is the accused view really “mainstream”? A reviewer can think of the names of scientists who designed experimental research and interpreted their findings in such a way as to affirm preconceptions about the dangerousness of a particular national group of immigrants.
Note that in the chapter on so-called foreign crimes, the world’s most influential name is missing, although one of his contributions is included in the bibliography. Finally, the reviewer insists that the transition from one to the other and the functional equivalence of the two terms makes it possible to speak not only of biological racism but also of cultural racism.
After reading the last few sentences, you will see what the argument booklet can do. It is not only used to explain a point of view in an established way. It serves – and precisely because of its intentional bias – to this end, forcing you to rethink and define your own and different perspectives.