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Integr Psychol Behav Sci. 2013 Jun;47(2):231-48. doi: 10.1007/s12124-012-9227-6.

German muslims and the 'integration debate': negotiating identities in the face of discrimination.

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  • 1Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Am Planetarium 4, 07743, Jena, Germany. peter.holtz@uni-jena.de


Based on five focus groups (total Nā€‰=ā€‰56) with German Muslims, we analyze discourses on the experience of discrimination and feelings of national and religious attachment. The focus groups took place in mid to late 2010 in four German cities. Whereas only few participants describe personal discrimination by non-Muslim Germans, almost all participants complain about being collectively discriminated and rejected. This perception triggers processes of confirming their original cultural identity, primarily their Muslim affiliation and of strengthening the boundary towards the wider society. The analysis of the discourse shows the participants to fall back into an essentialized way of thinking that makes their ethnic being incompatible with being German; and they resort to their Muslim roots as a cultural resource for identity construction and self-worth. Others cope with their feeling of rejection by engaging in local politics and sports activities that allows them to attribute themselves a hyphenated identity as Turkish-Germans. The findings are discussed in terms of social identity, psychological essentialism, transnationalized religion, and boundary making.

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