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The challenged nation state: How to successfully integrate refugees into German society
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Theology, Department of Theology.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis examines the current process of refugee integration in Germany. It aims at finding out, how it will be possible for Germany to successfully integrate the high number of asylum seekers, particularly from the Middle East, that have arrived here since Angela Merkel’s decision of suspending the Dublin Regulations and opening Germany’s borders to refugees in late summer of 2015. In order to do so, this thesis first seeks to develop a better understanding of the concept of integration through presenting Hartmut Esser’s sociological integration theory. While previous research offers a range of theoretical works within migration and integration research, there is a lack of adequate literature analyzing the present integration process in Germany, due to the topicality of the subject. As the integration of refugees will significantly shape Germany’s sociopolitical future during the upcoming years, it is hoped that this paper can contribute to bridging this gap by creating a first evaluation of the current circumstances. For this, a content analysis of the existing sources has been combined with the results of a small-scale field study, in which ten Germans have been interviewed, conveying their expectations and worries with regard to the integration of refugees.

The findings of this research have given insight into the obstacles that Germany faces with regard to efficiently integrating the newly arrived refugees. It is, first and foremost, the lengthy bureaucratic procedures and the lack of an adequate integrative infrastructure that presently impede integration processes. An increasing dissatisfaction with the government’s unstructured plan of action has further given way to a tense atmosphere among the German population. Moreover, Germany’s perception of nationhood is, up until today, largely based on an ethnic concept. Together with the country’s past reluctancy to accept its status as an immigration country, these factors constitute a hampering environment for the ongoing integration of refugees. Yet, the analysis of the interviews has displayed a partly shared understanding of the concept of integration among the German population, in which especially tolerance and mutual efforts are valued most. In view of the fact that Germans have previously shown great willingness to receive refugees, these results give reason for hope. In the near future, it will become of crucial importance that the German government creates a thorough strategy, in which measures to strengthen integration are clearly described. It is only through fast and concrete actions, which allow room for flexibility, that infrastructural omissions can be compensated and the population’s trust in a successful outcome can be renewed. Finally, it will be necessary that future research takes into account the voices of refugees themselves in order to generate a more complex understanding of how successful integration can look like in Germany. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , 79 p.
Keyword [en]
integration, refugee crisis, Germany
National Category
Social Sciences Humanities
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-295615OAI: diva2:934209
Educational program
Master Programme in Religion in Peace and Conflict
Available from: 2016-06-14 Created: 2016-06-08 Last updated: 2016-06-14Bibliographically approved

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