Schanze, Livia Sophie
Language and immigration in Germany: the role of German language in recent immigration debates.
University of Southampton, School of Humanities,
All nations with significant dimensions of immigration and ethnic minorities are facing policy tensions stemming from two contradicting fundamental constitutional principles. The establishment and preservation of nationhood seems to require cultural homogeneity and associated integration of the population living on a specified territory. However, the aim of integration is challenged by the principle of recognising and safeguarding cultural identities of minorities and immigrants. One of central debates concerns language policy.
This country study concerns the recent relation of language policy and immigration policy in Germany. It is based on the analysis of public discourses circling around the legislative process and the subsequent application and amendment of the foreigners’ statute of 1997 and the immigration statute of 2004 including the Green card initiative (2000) and the debate about restrictive policies after the Madrid bombing (2004). It also contains a case study of the controversies on the German-only policy on the playground of a multi-ethnic school in Wedding, a district of Berlin. Recent media coverage shows that this example, picked in 2006, has since achieved a paradigmatic quality.
The thesis outlines and applies aspects of critical discourse analysis for the interpretation of selected relevant texts, mainly contained in national quality newspapers. The case study is also based on interviews and use of correspondence addressed to the school.
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