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'With hard work and determination you can make it here': narratives of identity among German immigrants in post-colonial Namibia

'With hard work and determination you can make it here': narratives of identity among German immigrants in post-colonial Namibia
'With hard work and determination you can make it here': narratives of identity among German immigrants in post-colonial Namibia
This article is based on ethnographic pilot research among German immigrants in Namibia. It employs content and discourse analysis of interview narratives emerging in conversations with two generations of German migrants: individuals who settled in the 1950s and 1960s and a younger cohort who immigrated in the 1980s and 1990s. Interview extracts in which respondents address their arrival and adjustment are chosen to explore narrative reconstructions of integration in (post)-colonial Namibia. However, integration is largely sought in the social and symbolic context defined as ‘German’ and ‘white’, and in dissociation from Namibia as ‘Africa’. Silences, ambivalences, and contradictions at the narrative level reveal these generational cohorts to be slightly different, yet equally evasive about the problematic inheritance of white privilege. While, in contrast to the earlier migrants, the more recent arrivals maintain appeals to liberalism, these interviews suggest that 16 years after independence Namibian whites have not yet begun a process of critical self-reflection.
1465-3893
611-628
Armbruster, Heidi
44560127-8f08-4969-8b47-e19f21f23c37
Armbruster, Heidi
44560127-8f08-4969-8b47-e19f21f23c37

Armbruster, Heidi (2008) 'With hard work and determination you can make it here': narratives of identity among German immigrants in post-colonial Namibia. Journal of Southern African Studies, 34 (3), 611-628. (doi:10.1080/03057070802259852).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This article is based on ethnographic pilot research among German immigrants in Namibia. It employs content and discourse analysis of interview narratives emerging in conversations with two generations of German migrants: individuals who settled in the 1950s and 1960s and a younger cohort who immigrated in the 1980s and 1990s. Interview extracts in which respondents address their arrival and adjustment are chosen to explore narrative reconstructions of integration in (post)-colonial Namibia. However, integration is largely sought in the social and symbolic context defined as ‘German’ and ‘white’, and in dissociation from Namibia as ‘Africa’. Silences, ambivalences, and contradictions at the narrative level reveal these generational cohorts to be slightly different, yet equally evasive about the problematic inheritance of white privilege. While, in contrast to the earlier migrants, the more recent arrivals maintain appeals to liberalism, these interviews suggest that 16 years after independence Namibian whites have not yet begun a process of critical self-reflection.

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More information

e-pub ahead of print date: 22 August 2008
Published date: September 2008
Organisations: Modern Languages

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 65987
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/65987
ISSN: 1465-3893
PURE UUID: b657651f-60f6-4299-9711-458d551af5e0

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Date deposited: 16 Apr 2009
Last modified: 19 Jul 2017 00:28

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