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Negotiating Identities: States and Immigrants in France and Germany / Edition 1

Negotiating Identities: States and Immigrants in France and Germany / Edition 1

by Riva Kastoryano


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ISBN-13: 9780691010151
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Publication date: 02/10/2002
Series: Princeton Studies in Cultural Sociology , #12
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Riva Kastoryano is a Senior Research Fellow at the National Center for Scientific Research and teaches at the Institute for Political Science, both in Paris. The author of several books in French, her work has focused on community formation and the construction of collective identities in different political settings.

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THIS BOOK ADDRESSES the role of the state in constructing communities and expressing collective identities. It also examines the effect of identity demands on the states, their institutional structure, their historical representations, and their identities. Comparison between France and Germany, with important references to the United States, provides a guide for my analysis. In the three countries I looked at the modes of organization, mobilizations, and identity demands of the descendants of immigrants or minorities on the one hand, and official rhetorics, social policies, and institutional dynamics on the other. By studying these matters, this book also seeks to elucidate the status of the nation-state today: its principles and institutional structures, its capacity to adjust to new realities and new terms of citizenship.

In sum, this book explores the state's capacity to negotiate identities. The "negotiation of identities" provides a model of development common to all democratic countries no matter what their definition of the nation and their principles of citizenship. For democratic states, negotiations area way to deal with the unexpected consequences of immigration. In Germany the guest workers (Gastarbeiter) are now there to stay, and they claim the right of citizenship. In France, although most of the young generation of North African origin do have French citizenship, they now also express their allegiance to a state of origin. This has led Germany to policies of integration (Integrationspolitik) rather than policies for foreigners (Ausländerpolitik). France has fashioned new targeted measures and a new vocabulary addressing integration rather than assimilation. Therefore, unlike republic, unity, and equality—the ideas that made the European nation-states and engendered the construction of national models—the general tendency now is to maintain identities by managing them: immigrants' identities and national identities. Guided by pragmatism, such an approach helps manage the contradictions between myth and reality, discourse and action, ideas and facts.1

The model of negotiations of identities derives from the dynamics of interaction between states and immigrants or minorities. For states, it constitutes a means—perhaps the only one—of integrating into the process of globalization by establishing itself as an actor. In fact, several works on globalization are directing attention to the crisis of the nation-state.2 Some of them declare the end of the nation-state, others develop scenarios for the "post-nation-state."3 All of them agree that it is obsolescent and cast doubt on the coincidence between the political structure and the community of belonging, between the state and the nation. Some works emphasize the immigrants' attachment to their home country, the increasing influence of international law, supranational institutions, regional alliances, and the global economy. All of these are beyond the control of the state. Interdependence between internal and external situations, which is now inevitable, challenges the legitimacy and sovereignty of the nation-state, as well as its unity. Its power to define a common identity, a sense of solidarity and loyalty consolidated within a single political community, is at stake. Thus the state's ability to negotiate within its boundaries can reveal that it is still pertinent as a legitimate framework of recognition and citizenship. The question arises more acutely in Europe, where the shaping of a new political space indicates that nation-states have been outmoded.4


In this book the analysis of negotiations of identities concerns mainly the attitude of France and Germany toward their "immigrants" or "foreigners," according to the terminology used in each country. I systematically compare them with the United States, not only for the heuristic value of the comparison but also because the United States serves as an example or counterexample to the other two countries for the management of so-called minority identities.

Comparative studies of immigration, integration, and citizenship, as well as of the concept of the nation, rest on ideal-typical dichotomies. According to these "ideal types" or "models," France is the perfect example of a nation-state that sees itself as universalist and egalitarian. The so-called French model, based on republican individualism, implies and entails the assimilation of individuals who have become citizens by choice.5 By contrast, the United States is designated as an "antimodel," a country that recognizes cultural, ethnic, racial, religious, and sexual communities as groups acting in political life, as opposed to the French model, that is, a "nation divided into nations." In another vein, the French model is also opposed to the so-called German model—the French elective and political conception of the nation versus the primarily ethnic and cultural German attachment to common ancestors.6 Germany, however, sees France as a republic based on principles of citizenship whose goal is to assimilate all its members above and beyond cultural or religious identity, and it regards the American model as an example of democratic arrangements in which different cultures centered on ethnic communities can organize and express themselves.

The point of departure for my work, however, is the parallel developments between the three countries and the convergences to which they lead. As a matter of fact, all three are countries of immigration, even if official discourse in Germany has denied this reality until recently. A convergence can be detected among the policies of immigration control in these three countries, especially among their policies of integration.7 This convergence extends to laws about citizenship.8 In fact, the two European countries are going through the same transition—from an economic and provisional immigration to one of permanent residence and the emergence of new actors (among immigrants and within the established political class) focused on these issues, which give them their political force. At the same time, France and Germany are experiencing the same difficulties as the United States: suburban ghettos (banlieus), ethnic enclaves, and inner-city slums—places that combine foreignness and poverty and are seen as sites of conflict between cultures, between the residents and the police, and between communities and the nation.

These parallel facts lead to a similar questioning. France, Germany, and the United States, three republics born in and of different historical contexts, have similar identity problems: of immigrants on one hand and of the nation on the other. The three societies are trying to answer the same question: how to reconcile differences that arise in society and roil its politics while maintaining and affirming the nation's integrity.9 The political reactions show some similarities as well. All three countries rely on democracy and liberalism to develop special programs for groups that are excluded from the process of assimilation. All such programs are aimed at reducing social inequalities while bearing in mind that these social inequalities relate to cultural differences.

The three countries have also adopted the same tactics. Political action in integrating immigrants and citizenship takes the form of reactions, in which reason and passion, economic interests and national ideologies, democratic morality and the weight of traditions, are blended. All three use the same sort of discourse, the same words and concepts, which travel from one group to another, one political party to another, and one country to another. These words and concepts in the three social and political contexts are used to represent and designate the Other in the same way, thus normalizing the political debate on immigration. Left and Right use the same words but give them a different content and meaning.


The similarities among the three countries, however, do not erase national and social particularities; each case is specific. This is one of the paradoxes emphasized in this book. The states maintain national models. But these national characters take shape in distinctive ways in reaction to immigration or to the presence of immigrants.

Social reality appears in the interactions between states and immigrants. Through interactions between states and immigrants, policies are deformed in practice and the models derived from the historical sociology of each nation are applied only approximately. France oscillates between a republican ideal of national unity and a pragmatism that takes account of the political motivations of immigrant groups organized in communities. Thus, in the 1980s, "political indifference" toward identities gave way to a policy based on the "right to be different." Germany hesitates between an ethnic conception of the nation and the requirements of a democratic society and hence pays lip service to the idea of a multicultural society. Both countries echo targeted policies applied in the United States in reference to affirmative action.

Thus, relations between states and their immigrants are constantly becoming more complex and more remote from traditional national representations. Even though national models serve as a link to the past in order to justify the present and to reinforce national identity and state sovereignty, a common evolution toward a new stage in the development of nation-states appears to be emerging, the stage of negotiation of identities. The issue for states is negotiating the ways and means of including the descendants of immigrants into the political community. The issue for individuals or groups formed into communities is to struggle against every form of exclusion, political, economic, social, and/or cultural.

But identities are not commodities and are therefore difficult to negotiate. Abstract, fluid, and changeable, they reflect and reveal the profound emotions of individuals, peoples, and nations. They are redefined and affirmed in action and interaction and change with the cultural, social, and political environment. In fact, the concept of identity is a dynamic one. Minority groups (whether ethnic or religious) differentiate themselves from the larger society by their language, their culture, their religion, or their history. They are also defined in opposition to other immigrant groups, but above all in opposition to the national community.

Studies on the negotiations of identities refer primarily to the inter-cultural or intracultural negotiations of groups or minorities that share the same public space.10 This book, however, deals with the negotiations between states and immigrants. This approach considers the nation as any community, a historical construct based on the idea of a common past and common cultural referents. Its content, called national identity, has to be redefined to take account of the expectations of social groups within the nation and in comparison with surrounding nations. And the state, from this perspective, is not seen simply as an administrative and juridical power whose role in matters of immigration is limited to the control of flows and thus to the protection of national borders. By state, I mean an institutional reality that, although influenced by external forces, has its own internal logic, born of history and nourished by ideology, acting directly on civil society and shaping its political life.11

Identities that confront each other and affirm themselves are also negotiated, especially as they are expressed in terms of interests and rights and locate themselves against the state. In France and Germany, the proliferation of immigrants' voluntary associations since the 1980s shows that North Africans in France and Turks in Germany are organized mainly around an identity or identities that take shape in their collective action in relation to their respective states. This is one of the consequences of governmental policies that increasingly intrude into the private domain and issues of identity, thus increasing the interactions and reciprocal engagements between states and immigrants in France and Germany, as in the United States, and creating at the same time a space of transaction, a "market," where groups compete for public resources in order to express their cultural and identity differences publicly.

This ethnic market is created by the state in France and Germany. It appears empirically as the logical consequence of the so-called policies of identity instituted to manage integration and leads the descendants of immigrants to form a community. Whether ethnic, religious, or interest based, a community is a form of organization structured around state-recognized associations. Such a structure allows the community to negotiate each of its elements of identity with the public authorities. For activists, guardians of a collective identity created in terms of loyalty and affective symbols in reaction to public discourses and policies, identity becomes the strategy of action, the shaping of a community, the tactic necessary to get declared particularities recognized and to negotiate them with the machinery of the state.

Relations between states, whose substance is the nation, and immigrants organized in a community are an arena where ethnic or religious communities—perceived as "dissident" communities by some elements of public opinion and politicians—compete with the national community. The emergence of these communities in modern societies clearly reveals the contradictions between the social reality and the ideology of the unified nation-state. The concept of community does indicate objective or subjective forms of belonging and the particularistic allegiance of its members. This conflicts with the modern idea of nation, which, according to Max Weber, is the only one born of modernity and has political legitimacy because it is universal. Therefore, analyses of the shaping of immigrant communities and their politicization raise the question of loyalty: loyalty to the nation and to their own communities.

States contribute to the formation of communities, which are imagined or shaped in relation to policy in order to gain recognition. They also contribute to the definition of identities around which a community might be structured. The hard core that cements a community is elaborated in interaction with the state. In France, for example, mobilizing the political community around the issue of the veil reinforced an identification with Islam on the part of the descendants of immigrants and turned religion into a mobilizing force that lends the community its essence by opposing laïcité (secularism). In Germany a national identity that was defined in ethnic terms (including religion) contrasts with the collective German identity, which is expressed by a belonging transmitted by one's ancestors. Reunification, the arrival of the Aussiedler (immigrants of German origin), and the influx of asylum seekers in the last few years have reinforced feelings of belonging to collective identities in German society: the natives and the foreigners. Debates on citizenship and the dual citizenship demanded by immigrants from Turkey underline the confrontation of two identities whose ethnic boundaries are confused with national boundaries on both sides. In reality, the identity demands within them refer the states back to their own contradictions, which originated with the creation of nation-states and which remain unresolved because they have been blurred ever since. These contradictions are subject to negotiations today. Thus in France the religion/laïcité pair is at the heart of the negotiations. In Germany it is the identity/citizenship duality that is to be negotiated. These dualities at the basis of the definition of collective identities—both national and communal—become the most pertinent element of negotiation for both parties on both sides of the Rhine, for they are also affectively, symbolically, and ideologically charged and hence the hardest to surrender.

So, it is up to the states to accommodate to reality by adjusting policies, restructuring institutions, and redefining the terms of citizenship. Negotiations of identities thus become a means of establishing a new balance between social forces and the national interest, between emerging community institutions and public authorities, between the state and the nation. At the same time, these negotiations appear as a way of managing the pernicious effects of the applied policies.


Negotiations of identities also allow states to remain a structuring force of a collectivity, defining the limits of recognition and the terms of citizenship. Relations between states and immigrants (even more generally, between states and "minorities") reveal that the reappraisal of the state does not necessarily lead to its erosion. Nation-states are obviously undergoing a reappraisal of the legitimacy of what had been their strength: a nation that is culturally and politically unified, territorially limited, and consolidated by a sovereign state both inside and outside its boundaries.12 This political structure, invented in eighteenth-century Europe and combining culture, politics, territory, and identity in a unified project,13 is weakened by internal and external forces. The appearance on the political scene of communities organized around a common experience of immigration or around a common language, religion, or nationality or even around the same territorial reference,14 each demanding a recognition of declared identities, is perceived as a challenge to its unity. The extension of these identities to transnational solidarities, the political participation they imply, and the increasing influence of supranational institutions, regional alliances, and the global economy are, in fact, beyond the control of states.

Negotiations of identities leads to the reestablishment of the role of the state in the definition of a common identity of citizens and of a feeling of solidarity and loyalty consolidated around a single political community. This constitutes a way of "mending" contradictions, reinventing the bases of the social bond, guaranteeing internal peace, and avoiding violence while complying with the new democratic norms that promote differences and equality.

Such a view contradicts the hypotheses of a postnational affiliation, which rely on the adoption of international laws expressed in terms of human rights and refer to the person or the residence, and not to a legal citizenship defined by criteria established by each of the sovereign nation-states.15 This argument derives from transnational modes of organization and participation that allow the individual, whether an immigrant or not, to get around national policies—in this case, the demands of citizenship. My research shows that, in fact, the consolidation of transnational solidarities intends to influence states from the outside. Even if, in some respects, the transnational networks contribute to the formation of "separate communities," such communities now appear as indispensable structures for negotiating with the national public authorities the recognition of collective identities constructed in frameworks that are still national. In Europe, for example, the objective of the transboundary structuring of association networks is to reinforce their representation on the European level, but its practical goal is to lead to a recognition at the national level. The militants, even those most active at the European level, represent the states as the only "adversaries" with whom they ultimately have to reckon.


Obviously, the representation of the nation that justifies the concept of citizenship and its bond with nationality affects the strategies and modes of participation of the politically active descendants of immigrants: a citizen voter in France, a political actor who is trying to find ways to influence political decisions in Germany. My analysis favors a definition of citizenship linked with individual or collective political commitment and participation in the public space.16 This commitment marks the start of the exercise of citizenship itself, and even more, of the shaping of an identity of a citizen. It is also expressed in the cultural community and within national institutions. Multiplicity of identifications and allegiances has become a source of "suspicion" with regard to the immigrant in France and Germany, and has colored all debates of immigration and citizenship.

In the three countries, the discussion thus crystallizes around citizenship and multiculturalism, even "multicultural citizenship."17 It is linked to status, law, identity, and belonging. Since the 1980s, citizenship has been established as a major issue in the social sciences, at the intersection of law, philosophy, politics, and sociology. Altogether, they raise the fundamental question about the universal ideology represented by the nation-state in contrast to the private, on one hand, and to the definition of a common civic space of political participation, on the other.

The concept of citizenship—as of nationality, since the two are interdependent and "interchangeable"18 in the framework of the nation-state—is defined above all as the individual's belonging to a political community. This belonging takes shape through the social, political, and cultural rights and the duties that are embodied in the very idea of citizenship. The legal act that concretizes that principle implies the inclusion of "foreigners" in the national community whose moral and political values they are supposed to share. Moreover, they are supposed to adopt and even appropriate historical references as proof of a complete adherence and loyalty to the founding principles of the nation. These, at least, are the expectations, no matter what the legal conditions of access to citizenship, that is, whether the laws favor the right of soil or the right of blood.

As for multiculturalism, it refers to the multiple allegiances of individuals. It is based on the recognition of differences or on what is now called identity politics and consists of promoting cultural specificities within the national community. From the point of view of the states, multiculturalism is presented as a discourse, which they reject or accept, but in any case, a discourse they justify. It also constitutes a political choice through measures applied and methods favoring identity expressions in the public sphere.

In France the term is annoying. It even produces cliques: "republicans vs. democrats,"19 namely, those who take refuge behind a republican vision of the nation-state, which objects to every communitarian structure, and its recognition, against those who defend a liberal vision granting a place to communities and identity interests in political life. The former are reinforced by the typology developed by R. Brubaker with regard to citizenship in France and Germany.20 The definition of the nation is linked to the definition of a civic nation and a citizenship that is mainly political in France, and to an ethnic nation and a citizenship that is exclusively cultural in Germany.21 The normative lesson is inherent in the "community of citizens" that makes the political community the only political membership of the individual.22 In the same vein, but in terms of an anthropological analysis of family structures in France, Germany, and Great Britain, Emmanuel Todd ends up with a typology categorizing France as universalist because it is assimilationist, Germany as segregationist, and the United States as differentialist.23 The multiculturalists, by contrast, want to attract attention to the pressures of identity in France, as in all industrial societies, and to analyze them as phenomena that replace the labor movement that produced social conflicts in the past.24 On the whole, the discussion in France concerns the compatibility between the idea of the republic as one and indivisible and the presence of linguistic, religious, or other communities; between political and cultural belonging within the framework of the nation-state in the search for the "social bond."25 As for the nature of this discussion, it is located between ideology and the normative in relation to the definition of communities which is now linked to citizenship and multiculturalism, just as much as it refers to a redefinition of justice, democracy, and human rights.

We must refer to works on the city, this time on urban integration, the phenomena of the ghetto, or questions of local democracy, which relate directly or indirectly to the presence of immigrant populations and their spatial and cultural concentration. These studies, along with empirical data, bring a contextual analysis of community construction or multiple identities in a given space.26 This is reminiscent of the contribution of the Chicago School in the early twentieth century, which concerned the process of the acculturation and assimilation of immigrant populations in the United States. Of course, new research on the city no longer raises the same questions or uses the same methodology, but it does have the same result: a realistic analysis of the modes of social and political organization of the populations living in urban spaces and the modalities of weaving social bonds beyond the space of the neighborhood or even the city.

The discussion in Germany is dominated by the Habermas school of political philosophy and concerns the question of cultural recognition and solidarity in an increasingly differentiated society. Republicanism in this context refers to a social integration and a political inclusion. As a common denominator, the model based on constitutional patriotism proposes a liberal political culture, according to which, whatever the differences in so-called multicultural societies, citizenship is based on the socialization of the actors in the framework of a common political culture.27 As in the United States, the broader discussion is oriented toward conflicts between liberals and communitarians and raises the question of public order, social peace, and the role of the welfare state in the definition of a new national cohesion. From this perspective, a great deal of empirical research demonstrates the modes of integration of different populations in Germany. As for a comparative approach, the same historical inspiration in the definition of citizenship brings France and Germany together or drives them apart. There, too, we must wait for sociological studies on the integration of the Aussiedler, populations naturalized de jure as soon as they arrive in Germany from Central Europe or Russia, to reassess the equation between legal and political citizenship and social integration.28

In this book I try to show that, in reality, both in France and in Germany, a rhetoric that rejects multiculturalism is found in contradiction with policies favoring identities in the public space. The expression of multiple allegiances is the result both of the words used in public discussions that locate the Other elsewhere and in social policies targeted toward the descendants of immigrants. The combination reveals an "applied multiculturalism" in both countries, as in the United States. Is this a pragmatic or an ideological response to the management of diversity? It does not matter. In fact, multiculturalism, as concept and as applied policy, is at the core of the interactions between immigrant or minority populations and the states. So is citizenship. Both open the way to identity negotiations between states and immigrants.

Thus, the theoretical question raised by negotiations of identity concerns the redefinition of a balance between the state and the nation. The normative response concerns an institutional assimilation of differences. This consists of integrating differences into the structures of the state. If the policies of so-called (or not) identity seek, paradoxically, a social cohesion in national societies, this can rest only on an institutional basis recognized by the states that define the framework of legitimacy established on equality and justice.

Works on the incorporation of immigrant populations in Europe show that their mode of organization is integrated into existing institutional structures.29 Let me add that the power of negotiation of the political activists among the descendants of immigrants is a sign of their commitment in the associations that constitute the framework of socialization and where the rules of the political game and of civic virtue are acquired. Consequently, the organization and functioning of the associations mirror national institutions. Participation in the associations contributes to shaping the "identity of a citizen" for the immigrant and for the whole population. This identity of a citizen, shaped and developed in the associations or in other community structures in relation to the state, constitutes a basis of citizenship that is expressed by attachment both to the national community and to a collective identity that is other than national.30 Civic virtue acquired in the associations goes beyond the framework of the simple legal definition of citizenship insofar as it is exercised in different areas and on different terms: it is expressed both within a cultural, ethnic, or religious community and within the national community. Such a vision of citizenship contrasts with expectations about the loyalty of the individual with regard to the national community. But, in fact, the actions and strategies of the actors do not contradict their desire for integration into the national community, for a civic participation with equal rights as revealed by discourse and that encourages mobilization. Thus, an institutional assimilation arises as the logical consequence of the negotiations that have led the descendants of immigrants to internalize the values of democratic societies. Institutional assimilation results in a restructuring of society in order to avoid the marginalization of a group that does not see itself in the overall institutions or the social and political citizenship, with the ultimate hope of reinforcing identification with the political community.31


Every work on comparative politics starts with the question of the state: public policies, political parties, social structure, union organizations—all cases of the organization of political life. Several discussions of the method of comparative politics have contrasted a structuralist approach that favors institutions with a culturalist approach that tries to point out the symbols and values that permit determining the boundaries of a collectivity.32 The former emphasizes the rationality of institutions, and the latter the importance of interpretation, thus contrasting universalism and particularism, as well as normativity and empiricism.

My approach combines the two. In my research, the issue of the state is essential as a result of the parallel development of immigration in France and in Germany. Indeed, the first stage of the comparison concerned the modes of organization of the Turkish populations in the two countries, more precisely in Paris and Berlin, where, in 1984, the Turks constituted 47.4 percent of the foreign population, while there were only 18,500 Turks in Paris in 1982.33 The difference in the modalities of integrating families in the two cities led me to question the role of the state, or more precisely the effect of public policies of immigration on the organization of groups of immigrants and on the formation and expression of their collective identity. Despite the very different policies adopted by France and Germany, despite the quantitative difference of the Turkish population in the two countries, similarities in the modalities of integration were seen: an urban concentration according to the region of origin, the development of the associative movement, and a mobilization around identities. As a result, the comparison between the integration of immigrant families in Paris and Berlin showed the limits of policies concerning immigration, as a flow and as affecting settlement.

I then pursued my study with populations from Turkey in Germany and extended it to the North African population in France: two populations targeted by the media, political discourse, and public opinion in the two countries. This time I concentrated on the associations of immigrants, whether they defined themselves as social, cultural, religious, or national. I carried out in-depth interviews with their leaders and members and observed their meetings, discussions, and mobilizations over a long period. This study was interspersed with interviews with politicians in charge of issues of immigration and integration in the two countries, ministerial departments, union representatives, and those in charge of social services.

Immigrants or the descendants of immigrants, on one hand, and politicians and local and national institutions, on the other, over the long run, did in fact allow me to understand the development of the field of immigration: a development of the issues it poses, the concepts it refers to, and its terminology. Intense interactions between political actors on both sides—representatives of the state (central or federal, the Länder, or the local authorities) and individuals chosen to represent the relevant populations according to their nationality or their region of origin or their religion—result in a process of negotiations in which identities constitute the "good"; they are expressed in terms of interest and law confronting power on the part of the immigrants and in terms of national interest and social peace on the part of the states. These negotiations of identities also explain the reciprocal influences that produce institutional, discursive, and normative changes. They also affect political norms and values with permanent adjustments. In sum, it is to view "the state as process," as an actor in relation with society.34

Negotiations of identity appear in various realms: in rhetoric, actions, and organizations. This results in a methodological diversity that combines the structural analysis of institutions with the cultural data they embody. If the organization and functioning of the associations relate to a structuralist approach, although grasped in its own internal and external dynamic, the norms, values, and cultures invented in their framework necessarily relate to a culturalist approach. This is especially so since the negotiations mainly concern the contradictions between rhetoric and governmental decisions, representations and laws, myths and realities; depend on an overlapping of culture and politics; and relate to a culturalist analysis of the state.35

In fact, particularities of the states appear through negotiations. The similarities in the facts and political reactions that led to this comparative study do not prevent the reality unique to each society from appearing through interactions and from making each case specific. Historical continuity competes with social and cultural change to redefine fundamental principles and national symbols. Thus, despite the apparent convergence of political acts, divergences in the representation of the national idea that emerge in discourse tend ultimately to differentiate them. Thus, empirically, interactions between states and immigrants have located religion in France and citizenship in Germany at the core of negotiations in reconsidering laïcité as a non-negotiable value in France and the bond between citizenship and identity in Germany. Religion and citizenship thus constitute fundamental questions that raise a normative challenge to the French and German states in the area of integrating the descendants of immigrants.

These methodological instruments combining theories and facts constitute the fabric of this work. Chapter 1, "The War of Words," is an analysis of words and concepts linked with immigration or the presence of immigrants in France, Germany, and the United States. It underlines the transfer of these words as an indicator of the convergences between these countries not only in their usage but also in their development over time. The words serve in the same way to represent the Other, the immigrant, the foreigner. The historical and ideological weight of the words also locates them with respect to the historical narrative of the national societies.

Chapter 2, on the representation of political traditions, deals with the construction of this national narrative, the artificial and fluid nature of the models, and their limits with regard to reality, political action, and law.

Contradictions between political discourse and social reality create tensions that are crystallized in the territories of identity (chapter 3). In fact, a power relationship is established between the national institutions and the community institutions which make the law in these "territories" consisting of the suburbs in France, the ethnic enclaves in Germany, and the ghettos in the United States.

Chapter 4 shows how, in France and Germany, associations defined as intermediaries of solidarity in the territories of identity invent a culture in response to the expectations of individuals who seek an identification there and those of the public powers, in order to achieve recognition.

Although cultures are invented in the framework of the associations, their politicization is carried out in relations with the French and German states (chapters 5 and 6). Since the 1980s, invented, reappropriated, or affirmed cultures have been fueled in large part by public discussions and reinforced by local or national policies, as well as by targeted governmental practices that give them a form and content and in fact locate them in a field of competition for power and thus cause their politicization.

Whenever identities, thus far considered as part of the private sphere, are discussed in the public space, they give rise to negotiations with the states to achieve recognition. Chapter 7, on the negotiation of identities, shows the mechanisms of negotiations and their consequences with regard to relations between citizenship, nationality, and identity and raises the question of representation and recognition and its limits.

Finally, the European Union is a new space of negotiations of identities, where all identities are now negotiated, whether national, regional, linguistic, religious, majority, or minority. They are redefined by complex plays of interaction and identification in a new political space that is currently under construction. Nation-states cling to historical achievements and reinforce their particularities by registering them in the models they want to defend. As for the descendants of immigrants, they rely increasingly on the idea of a political Europe to intensify their quest for recognition with the states that constitute the only concrete frameworks of protection.

Table of Contents

France, Germany, and the United States2
Negotiating Identities3
The Nation-State in Crisis6
Citizenship and Multiculturalism8
Chapter 1The War of Words15
On the Immigrant16
Boundaries of Identity or "Threshold of Tolerance"19
The Battle of Numbers20
Who Is Who?22
"The Right of Difference" or "Praise of Indifference"26
Between Assimilation and Return30
The Era of Communities34
Chapter 2Representation of Political Traditions38
On the Nature of Representation: An "Ideal Nation"40
Integration "a la francaise"40
Dream of German Unity43
"E Pluribus Unum"45
The Search for Social Cohesion46
Religions and Social Cohesion47
Defining New Solidarities51
Limits of Representation53
The Category of Experience53
Representation Stops at the Law58
Chapter 3The Territories of Identity64
Incompatible Equations65
The Ethnicization of Territory68
Suburbs in France: Places Managed by Tension69
"Colonies" of Turks in Germany71
Area and Era of Tensions72
Social Immobility and "Ghettos"72
Violence, Rage, and Fears74
In Search of the Social Bond75
Universality and Ethnicity76
Redefining Solidarities in France78
A "Multicultural" Germany82
Chapter 4The Invention of the Cultural85
The Reappropriation of a Cultural Identity in France86
The Assertion of Cultural Identity in Germany89
"Islam Is Everywhere!"92
An Imagined Transnational Cultural Community96
Chapter 5The Politicization of Identities in France99
The Emergence of New Divisions101
Republican Rhetoric101
The Emergence of an Ethnic Market103
Forming a Community106
"Thwarting Islam"106
"Forming a Muslim Community"107
Between the Mosque and the School110
The Recall of the Universal112
French Laicite112
Islam in the Feminine113
Chapter 6The Politicization of Identities in Germany117
Religious Pluralism and Islam119
Between the Head Scarf and the Crucifix119
A Place for Islam121
The Construction of an Ethnic Community123
The Impossible Religious Community123
In Search of a National Community125
Ethnic or Minority Community128
The Construction of a National Minority129
A Minority in the Minority136
Chapter 7The Negotiation of Identities140
The Question of Citizenship142
Citizenship and Political Commitment143
Citizenship, Nationality, and Identity145
A Question of Recognition151
A French Islam151
A Turkish Minority in Germany156
Chapter 11The European Union: New Space for Negotiating Identities164
Universality and Particularity165
Rights of Solidarity, Rights of Minorities166
Between Market and Union168
The Issue of Sovereignty169
Transnationality and Nationality170
Transnational Strategies and National Realities171
The Immigrant Forum172
The Informal Networks and Islam173
"Postnational Citizenship" and European Identity175
Institutional Practices and European Identity176
Nationality or European Citizenship?178
The Limits of Recognition183
Inclusive Indifference184

What People are Saying About This

Nathan Glazer

Riva Kastoryano has studied the two largest Muslim immigrant groups in Europe, the North Africans of France and the Turkish population of Germany, in depth and with sophistication. How and whether these groups assimilate to Western civilization is clearly a matter of the greatest urgency and this book is invaluable in giving us some sense of how this process is working.
Nathan Glazer, Professor of Sociology and Education, Harvard University

Craig Calhoun

Few issues are more important than the ways in which cultural identities are politicized. As Riva Kastoryano shows in this excellent book, neither religious nor national communities are stable, and immigration challenges the ability of state to control and integrate identities. This is a crucial issue for Europe and for the world.
Craig Calhoun, New York University, President of the Social Science Research Council


An important and incisive study. . . . American readers will gain from this book a fresh perspective on their own multicultural experience.
George M. Fredrickson, author of "Racism" and "The Comparative Imagination"

Aristide Zolberg

Riva Kastoryano's subtle account of identity negotiations between French and German receivers and immigrant newcomers demonstrates how profoundly their course is shaped by the state. In the best tradition of comparative macroanalysis, this work not only highlights similarities, but helps us understand the lasting specificity of each case.
Aristide Zolberg, New School University

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