Immigration, Asylum and Right-Wing Populism in Germany: Critical Perspectives on ‘Civil Society’ and ‘Democracy’

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 17:45
Oral Presentation
Olaf TIETJE, University of Kassel, Germany
Elisabeth TUIDER, Professor of Sociology, University of Kassel, Germany, University of Kassel, Germany
In summer 2015, the German state and the German society were surprised about the rising numbers not only of immigrants but also of refugees from different countries. Those people leaving behind their war-framed living conditions crossed the German national border and reached the communities, villages and cities in order to construct new existences (Hess et al. 2016; Schünemann/Voigt 2016).

The high number of immigrants and asylum seekers temporary overstrained the state structures and its common integration strategies. This structural deficit and related racist violence embedded in the the new regulations that aim to control the European and German borders created so-called “welcoming culture” movement as a counter-reaction (Rother 2016). This culturally as well as politically motivated reaction was shaped by the civil society who questioned the gap emerged between the ‘universal’ understanding of democracy and its goods for the people (Eilert et al 2017; Hamann et al. 2016).

In our presentation, we focus on the discursive circumstances created this specific ‘wellcoming’-situation by focusing on the process of its rhetorical development in Germany. We are going to outline the (historical) circumstances of the temporary overstraining of the German state, its integration policy and the practices of organising civil aid as a political solidarity with the refugees. On the other hand, we are going to focus the isochronal rising of right-wing populism in political interpretations of migration (as the ‘muslim other’) in Germany. Our presentation will be illustrated by the first outcomes of our qualitative research project entitled ‘Welcoming Culture and Democracy in Germany’.