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Turkish Germans in the Federal Republic of Germany
Immigration, Space, and Belonging, 1961–1990

Part of Publications of the German Historical Institute

  • Date Published: October 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108427302


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About the Authors
  • As the largest national group of guest workers in Germany, the Turks became a visible presence in local neighbourhoods and schools and had diverse social, cultural, and religious needs. Focussing on West Berlin, Sarah Thomsen Vierra explores the history of Turkish immigrants and their children from the early days of their participation in the post-war guest worker program to the formation of multi-generational communities. Both German and Turkish sources help to uncover how the first and second generations created spaces of belonging for themselves within and alongside West German society, while also highlighting the factors that influenced that process, from individual agency and community dynamics to larger institutional factors such as educational policy and city renovation projects. By examining the significance of daily interactions at the workplace, in the home, in the neighbourhood, and in places of worship, we see that spatial belonging was profoundly linked to local-level daily life and experiences.

    • Brings the perspectives of Turkish immigrants and their children into the historical narrative by drawing on Turkish-language sources as well as German sources
    • Focuses on the everyday lives of first and second generation Turkish Germans
    • Uses the methodological framework of space to explore issues of belonging and integration
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Historical works on Turkish Germans and Turkish Gastarbeiter (i.e, 'guest workers') are in short supply. Though Turks are the largest ethnic minority in Germany, only recently have scholars begun to pay serious attention to this group. [Thomsen] Vierra delivers a social history of first-generation Turkish immigrants and their children, exploring how they interacted with and indeed influenced the community in which they lived while also creating spaces for themselves that were distinctly Turkish. [Thomsen] Vierra's research focuses primarily on the West Berlin neighborhood of Sprengelkiez, and she makes clear that she does not intend her book to speak for the experiences of all Turkish Germans. Geographic specificity aside, this volume is a welcome addition to the literature on German ethnic minorities and guest workers … readable and richly supported by both Turkish and German sources, including oral histories, newspapers, archival documents, and memoirs. Highly recommended.' J. T. Rasel, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108427302
    • length: 282 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 159 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.55kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Settling in at work
    2. At home in Almanya
    3. Around the neighbourhood
    4. Learning to belong
    5. Making space for religion
    6. Belonging in reunified Germany
    Conclusion: integration as history, reciprocity, and space.

  • Author

    Sarah Thomsen Vierra, New England College
    Sarah Thomsen Vierra is an assistant professor of history at New England College of Henniker, New Hampshire. She received her doctorate in European history from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and was granted the Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize by the German Historical Institute in 2012. In addition, she has contributed chapters on West Berlin's Turkish community, the influence of the Cold War on the guest worker program, and migration in modern German history more broadly to edited volumes. Her research interests include migration, ethnic and religious minorities in European society, and everyday history.

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