Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2006

Abstract

This article investigates the evolving notion of belonging through the lens of Germany's new frameworks for nationality/citizenship and migration. Given the quantity of EU activity in the fields under consideration here, European developments are also analyzed, though less for their own sake than for the sake of staking out the parameters within which Germany remains sovereign to act.

Throughout this article, the question of how concrete developments bear on larger questions about belonging will recur. I make two main arguments. First, however welcome Germany's dramatic legal reforms may be, they will not necessarily solve the problems such legislation was intended to address. With regard to the new German law governing nationality/citizenship, the experience of German Jews teaches, among other lessons, that the legal status of citizenship does not automatically resolve the question of belonging. Tolerance cannot be legislated, but must-and can-be learned, albeit with difficulty. While public opinion data from the 1990s showed an overall high degree of convergence between the values held by Germans and other Europeans, the data also provide some evidence that Germans may be less tolerant of diversity. Second, despite even the best intentions, some aspects of recent legal reforms in Germany have the potential to exacerbate rather than alleviate social tensions. While many affected persons in Germany welcome the new integration requirements, Germany's revamped legal regime has simultaneously set off a storm of debate that is unlikely to dissipate any time soon.

This article proceeds by first providing a conceptual framework and addressing European-level developments pertaining to nationality/citizenship (Part II.A) and migration (Part II.B), then turns to consider the recent changes in German law on nationality/citizenship (Part III.A) and on migration (Part III.B). The discussion of integration in Part IV provides the common thread that ties the two strands of analysis in Parts II and III together. The emerging integration paradigm evidences a pragmatic approach to both the internal and external dimensions of belonging, but also contains the seeds of future conflict.

Comments

Copyright 2006 by the Regents of the University of California.

Reprinted from Berkeley Journal of International Law, vol. 24, no. 1, by permission of the Regents of the University of California.

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