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Transatlantic discourse on integration : citizenship and culture of naturalization


Wunderlich, Tanja; Worbs, Susanne; Heckmann, Friedrich

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Please use the following Persistent Identifier (PID) to cite this document:http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-350049

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Corporate Editor europäisches forum für migrationsstudien (efms) Institut an der Universität Bamberg
Abstract "Germany, The United Kingdom and the United States are countries with high numbers of immigration and an increasing number of migrants who obtain the citizenship of the host country. Besides controlling migration inflows strong institutions of integration are needed. Policy makers in all three countries are discussing potential instruments for a better understanding of the rights and responsibilities that come with naturalization, how basic information on the political system, the state and society can be conveyed and how a feeling of belonging to the host nation can be encouraged. These aspects are central points of a larger complex, which could be called a culture of integration. In the United States this culture of integration and naturalization has a long tradition: citizenship courses and citizenship tests are to ensure that naturalization applicants receive civic education; through "civil religion" and an almost holy significance of the American nation for the individual, a strong patriotism and a feeling of national loyalty expressed by symbols, celebrations and festival days Americans and immigrants are united beyond ethnic belonging or different religious denominations. This strong patriotism is passed on by national institutions (schools, army) and in everyday life. The significance of belonging and identifying with the United States is also expressed in very festive naturalization ceremonies. Even if organised as large-scale events the naturalization ceremonies still have collective and binding effects. Naturalization in the United States is very much seen as a step in the integration process, not as its completion. Access to American citizenship consequently is relatively easy. In the United Kingdom policy makers are also discussing ways of making the acquisition of citizenship more valuable. The currently applied “mail order approach” will be reformed. Naturalization ceremonies are planned to give added significance to naturalization. The wording of the current oath of allegiance will be modified to a more modern citizenship pledge. Germany is also rethinking its traditional approach to naturalization. With the reform of the Citizenship Law in 2000 it was made easier for immigrants to acquire the German citizenship. As part of the development of a new culture of integration, including a nation-wide integration program, the symbolic side of naturalization is promoted by introducing naturalization ceremonies. They are meant as a gesture of welcome and can be understood as an offer to identify as part of a new German nation."[author´s abstract]
Keywords immigration; citizenship; integration policy; integration; migration; migration policy; naturalization; Great Britain; United States of America; Federal Republic of Germany
Classification Migration, Sociology of Migration; Law
Document language English
Publication Year 2003
City Bamberg
Page/Pages 20 p.
Status Published Version
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
data provider This metadata entry was indexed by the Special Subject Collection Social Sciences, USB Cologne