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Journal Article

A bridge or barrier to incorporation? Germany's 1999 citizenship reform in critical perspective


Schönwälder,  Karen       
Socio-Cultural Diversity, MPI for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Max Planck Society;

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Schönwälder, K., & Triadafilopoulos, T. (2012). A bridge or barrier to incorporation? Germany's 1999 citizenship reform in critical perspective. German Politics and Society, 30(1), 52-70. doi:10.3167/gps.2012.300104.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-A73B-8
This article probes the consequences of Germany’s 1999 citizenship reformas it pertains to the incorporation of immigrants. We maintain that the law’sprincipled rejection of dual citizenship and related stipulation that childrenborn into German nationality via the law’s revolutionary jus soliprovisionchoose between their German citizenship or that of their non-German par-ents between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three is unfair, potentiallyunconstitutional, and likely unworkable in administrative terms. We alsoargue that the decline in naturalization rates in Germany since 2000 is dueto a combination of legal, administrative, and symbolic barriers in the law,as well as a lack of incentives for naturalization for immigrants from Euro-pean Union member states and other rich industrialized countries. Webelieve that progress in the area of incorporation will require a shift in out-looks on the part of German political elites, such that immigrants are seen aspotential members of a diverse community of free and equal citizens ratherthan untrustworthy and threatening outsiders.