Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
Look Inside The Guest Worker Question in Postwar Germany

The Guest Worker Question in Postwar Germany

$29.99 (G)

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

$ 29.99 (G)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
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
    Read more

    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

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    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.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.