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Narrating peoplehood in Germany

Who are we?

In a timely research paper published earlier this year, Johanna Hase takes a look at some of the narratives surrounding nationhood and belonging in Germany. The article traces how political leaders use stories to construct political communities, at times transposing existing narratives to fit shifting contexts. Hase, a research fellow with the International Citizenship Law group at WZB, finds that no matter how often political actors may repeat, adapt, or institutionalize their own narratives – their stories and the communities they produce are always bound to change.

Immigration and citizenship policy as an eminent case for study

Hase looks at the realms of immigration and citizenship policy as areas in which notions of national belonging are being fought over. Such policy disputes inevitably touch upon the question of who can (not) claim to belong - to Germany. She illustrates how the narrative of Germany not being a country of immigration, a leitmotif of German political discourse since the 1970s, and the counter-narrative of it being a country of immigration, have both changed over time. By interrogating some of the ways in which national communities are being imagined and fought over, Hase hopes to engage the public in a critical reflection on how stories of the nation and its people are being told.

Repetition, Adaptation, Institutionalization—How the Narratives of Political Communities Change” (Ethnicities, March 2021) is available via Open Access.

Portrait Foto Johanna Hase (Foto: David Ausserhofer)
Foto: David Ausserhofer

Johanna Hase is a Research Fellow with the International Citizenship Law research group.