Germany: Immigration and Social Exclusion in a Declining Welfare State

Carl-Ulrik Schierup

in Migration, Citizenship, and the European Welfare State

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780198280521
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603730 | DOI:

Series: European Societies

Germany: Immigration and Social Exclusion in a Declining Welfare State

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Germany has had the largest immigration of any European country: a mixture of ‘return’ of ethnic Germans and systematic recruitment of ‘temporary guestworkers’. The migrants stayed on and formed new ethnic minorities after recruitment was stopped in 1973. Yet the official line until the 1990s was that Germany was ‘not a country of immigration’. The resulting processes of ethnic segmentation and social exclusion coincided with a crisis of Germany’s strong ‘social state’, based on a regulated labour market, comprehensive social insurance, collective wage bargaining, and full employment. Exposure to global competition caused chronic unemployment, undermining the financial basis for the welfare state. The result has been a simultaneous crisis of national identity and the welfare state, with the pluralistic federal system apparently incapable of making the reforms needed to restart the economy and prevent the growth of inequality.

Keywords: ethnic Germans; guestworkers; social exclusion; welfare state; national identity; conservative welfare state

Chapter.  12125 words. 

Subjects: European Union

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