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ERIC Number: EJ885215
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-0143-4632
Constructing a Normative National Identity: The "Leitkultur" Debate in Germany, 2000/2001
Manz, Stefan
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, v25 n5-6 p481-496 2004
In recent years, public discourse about German national identity has increasingly focussed on the large foreign population within Germany's borders. Whilst right-wing politicians such as Edmund Stoiber foster fears of identity loss ("Uberfremdung"), more liberal observers, and indeed the ruling red-green coalition, acknowledge that multiethnicity has by now become an integral part of this identity. The debate experienced its provisional climax in late 2000 and early 2001. Friedrich Merz, then parliamentary leader of the CDU party, introduced the term "Leitkultur" into the political discourse. The notion suggests the existence of a clearly identifiable spectrum of German cultural values and proposes that foreigners who wished to live in Germany should adhere to these values. Merz's proposal triggered a wave of highly controversial comments which have been evaluated for the purpose of this paper. It draws on roughly 350 newspaper articles and interviews and aims to introduce the English-speaking reader to the complex range of arguments. The "Leitkultur" debate is taken as symptomatic of the current state of public discourse about foreigners and national identity in Germany.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany