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«Bashing the Migrant Climbers: Interethnic Classification Struggles in German City Neighborhoods FERDINAND SUTTERLÜTY and SIGHARD NECKEL Abstract ...»

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The contrasts between Barren-Ost and Iderstadt are primarily related to quantitative relations between different ethnic groups. Because of the number of non-German residents in Iderstadt — persons with foreign nationalities make up nearly half the population — there is hardly any necessity for migrants to become involved with the autochthonous population in any meaningful way. This is especially true of the Turkish population, which represents about a quarter of all neighborhood residents. It is also able to rely on an ethnic infrastructure with traits of ‘institutional completeness’ (Breton, 1964). The situation is entirely different in Barren-Ost, where non-Germans represent

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only about 10% of the resident population, and Turkish nationals about 5%. Here Turkish migrants are dependent on the cooperation of the autochthonous population if they want to have their needs met and concerns heard.

Integration and exclusion in different sub-areas of society As Häußermann and Siebel (2004) argue, integration processes are embedded in specific sub-areas of functionally differentiated modern societies. As a consequence, ‘integration takes place only partially in the form of economic, political, cultural, or social

integration and there is not necessarily a link between the different dimensions’ (ibid.:

12). In this last section, we would like to apply this idea to three specific sub-areas of society: economic life, local politics and life-worlds.

In economic life, the exclusionary impact of negative classifications — even those of the categorical type — is limited because markets are open systems possessing their own laws. In this area, mechanisms such as supply and demand generally carry more weight than an individual’s ethnicity. If a Turkish baker sells cheaper rolls, the autochthonous population will tend to purchase them despite their prejudices. A number of statements in the collected data prove this. Even the owner of an Iderstadt butcher’s shop who expressed regret at the growing number of buildings owned by Turks in the district nonetheless conceded in an interview that he too would sell his building to a Turk if the Turk made him a better offer than a German. In economic life, the institutionalized rules of economic rationality impose specific limits on the effects of

symbolic exclusion, and they counter processes of social ‘closure’ (Weber, 1978 [1922]:

43, 339; Parkin, 1974).

In the political sphere, there also exist institutionalized rules that limit the exclusionary effects of negative classifications. They include the norms of fairness, equality and justice. Institutionalized democratic values prevent the marginalization of migrants who become active in local politics within the bounds of their legal rights. The district revitalization program in Barren-Ost that we have mentioned several times is just one example of this. Although the opinion prevailed among the autochthonous population and its leaders that the Foreigners’ Advisory Board represented ‘rational parasites’ who ‘did not deserve’ to participate, the chairman of the Advisory Board was nonetheless made a consulting member of the program’s steering committee (though without voting rights). That meant non-German residents did participate, if in a restricted

way. Skeptical statements by autochthonous decision-makers mainly show one thing:

an institutionalized committee such as the Foreigners’ Advisory Board, together with the population groups it represents, cannot be fully excluded without violating democratic norms.

In life-worlds, on the other hand, the exclusionary logic of categorical classifications can assert itself quite strongly since this area knows almost no functional constraints, and there are no normative obligations to interethnic exchange. Behavior in life-worlds is at best guided by the performative rules of direct interaction, which are of an informal nature. For this reason, violation of these rules causes hardly any sanctions that can be anticipated. If, for example, one person perceives another as ‘unclean’, he creates obstacles to social contact that are difficult to overcome and whose effects run unchecked in the sphere of daily life. It is only in private life that negative classifications are directly expressed in separation and exclusion. Autochthonous individuals know all too well that it is illegitimate and mostly inopportune to prevent migrants and their descendants from exercising political rights and from participating in economic wealth. But this awareness does not necessarily lead to an acceptance of migrants and their lifestyles in the private sphere. A Turkish social education worker and artist living in Iderstadt expresses this point quite nicely when he says: ‘That’s the way it is with people — I mean with Germans — who have contact with migrants, who have positions of power and sit behind a desk somewhere: when their working day is done, it’s done, and now they’re in “Germany”. When they start working again, they’re International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 30.4 © 2006 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2006 Joint Editors and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Interethnic classification struggles in German city neighborhoods 813 back in the real world. They have to deal with a lot of migrants at work, but in their private lives they’re German’.

Ferdinand Sutterlüty (sutterluety@em.uni-frankfurt.de) and Sighard Neckel (neckel@em.uni-frankfurt.de), Institut für Sozialforschung, Senckenberganlage 26, 60325 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

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International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 30.4 © 2006 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2006 Joint Editors and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Interethnic classification struggles in German city neighborhoods 815 Résumé En examinant l’ordre symbolique des rapports entre divers groupes sociaux de quartiers défavorisés, cet article montre que l’ethnicité constitue la principale référence en matière d’appellations désobligeantes ou de ‘classifications négatives’. Prenant comme cas deux quartiers urbains allemands, on a reconstitué les patrons sémantiques des classifications négatives établies réciproquement chez les autochtones et leurs voisins turcs. Les individus d’origine turque en mobilité ascendante sont les cibles les plus fréquentes de cette stigmatisation. Cette réalité s’explique par la persistance d’une dimension symbolique de l’inégalité sociale qui associe l’ethnicité aux liens de parenté.

Les effets d’inclusion ou d’exclusion sociale liés aux classifications interethniques négatives, et aux luttes qui en découlent, dépendent de trois facteurs: la logique interne, progressive ou catégorielle, des schémas de classification; la forme et le processus de résolution des conflits; les contextes sociaux dans lesquels ces classifications sont employées. Si la part de désintégration née de classifications négatives est réfrénée par des normes institutionnalisées propres à la vie économique ou à la politique locale, il n’existe, dans le monde vécu, que des normes d’interaction performatives informelles.

Or, c’est là que ces classifications peuvent plus aisément conduire à l’exclusion sociale et à la séparation ethnique.

International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 30.4 © 2006 The Authors. Journal Compilation © 2006 Joint Editors and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.



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