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Look Inside The Guest Worker Question in Postwar Germany

The Guest Worker Question in Postwar Germany

$30.99 (P)

  • Author: Rita Chin, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Date Published: August 2009
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521690225

$ 30.99 (P)
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About the Authors
  • This book provides the first English-language history of the postwar labor migration to West Germany. Drawing on government bulletins, statements by political leaders, parliamentary arguments, industry newsletters, social welfare studies, press coverage, and the cultural production of immigrant artists and intellectuals, Rita Chin offers an account of West German public debate about guest workers. She traces the historical and ideological shifts around the meanings of the labor migration, moving from the concept of guest workers as a “temporary labor supplement” in the 1950s and 1960s to early ideas about “multiculturalism” by the end of the 1980s. She argues that the efforts to come to terms with the permanent residence of guest workers, especially Muslim Turks, forced a major rethinking of German identity, culture, and nation. What began as a policy initiative to fuel the economic miracle ultimately became a much broader discussion about the parameters of a specifically German brand of multiculturalism.

    • First English-language history of post-World War II guest worker migration to Germany
    • Offers prehistory of German multiculturalism and the contemporary conflicts over Muslims in the New Europe
    • Brings analysis of economics and politics together with culture; includes the perspectives of immigrants, not just Germans
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The Guest Worker Question in Postwar Germany is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the Federal Republic’s history and acquainting themselves with longstanding debates over migration and German national identity." -Phil Triadafilopoulos, German Politics and Society

    "For decades now, Turks and other “foreigners” have had a ubiquitous presence in German society. And yet, these populations have rarely figured into narratives of postwar Germany as such or conceptions of German identity. Rita Chin, in her superb The Guest Worker Question in Postwar Germany, seeks to change all" - Jeremy Varon, Central European History

    "The book is valuable for those interested in post-1945 German and European history generally, contemporary literature, labor policy, and cultural integration." -Choice

    "In this intelligent and well-written book, Rita Chin analyzes the public discourse surrounding the so-called guest worker question in postwar West Germany from the start of the official recruitment program in 1955 to the present." -Frank Biess, Journal of Modern History

    "This is a timely and eloquent exploration of what is surely the most debated issue about German society, culture, and identity today: the increasing reality of a multicultural society." -Diethelm Prowe, The Historian

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2009
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521690225
    • length: 294 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.39kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Aras Oren and the 'guest worker' question
    2. Minor(ity) literature and the discourse of integration
    3. Gender and incommensurable cultural difference
    4. Towards a German multiculturalism.

  • Author

    Rita Chin, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    Rita Chin is an Associate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. She previously taught at Oberlin College, Ohio. She has received fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and the German Academic Exchange Service, as well as grants from the American Historical Association and the American Philosophical Society. She was recently awarded a fellowship from the Fulbright Program to participate in the German Fulbright Commission's seminar on Muslims in Germany and France.

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