Intercultural Education and its Effects on Immigrant Integration: A Case Study of the Secondary System in Hamburg, Germany

Master's Thesis, 2009

121 Pages, Grade: A






Chapter One: Introduction
I. Introduction to the Problem
II. Key Terms
III. Relevance
IV. History of Immigration
V. Organization of Chapters

Chapter Two: Living Together
I. Europe, the Netherlands and Germany
II. Structural and Political Efforts
III. Education in Germany
IV. Hamburg

Chapter Three: Methodology and Results
I. Purpose
II. Survey Methodology
III. Location
IV. Data Collection
V. Demographics
VI. Results
VII. Teachers
VIII. Limitations

Chapter Four: Conclusion
I. Conclusions
II. Results
III. Personal Changes
VI. Recommendations




Kathryn Austin, M.A.

Department of International Studies, May 2009 University of Kansas

This thesis addresses the topic of intercultural education and immigrant integration as it relates to the secondary school system in Germany. Student and teacher surveys were conducted in Hamburg, Germany. The results showed that students have frequent contact with people from various backgrounds and that many acknowledge the importance of intercultural education. However, while some noteworthy programs have been implemented, there remains room for improvement from the federal level down to the local level.


I would like to dedicate this work to my parents, who have continuously encouraged me in my academic endeavors. Thank you for all you have done, I love you and appreciate your support more than I can express.


I would like to start by thanking the professors who helped me through the thesis process. Dr. Brent Steele, thank you for your direction, suggestions, patience and assistance, especially toward the end of the semester.

Dr. Michael Mosser, I truly appreciate your dedication, as you remained on my thesis committee despite changing universities, and then states. I also want to thank you for the distance learning class you participated in with me while I was abroad.

Dr. Jennifer Ng, your insight into the field of education was highly useful, and your comments and suggestions were intellectually challenging. Thank you for all that you have done as well.

I would also like to thank Sheri Warren and Noel Rasor, two amazing advisers. You were both unbelievably helpful at every step in the last few years, and I cannot thank you enough.

I also appreciate the support from the rest of my professors at the University of Kansas, as well as many of my fellow students, MISO members in particular. You have all made this a highly enjoyable experience, and I have learned something from each and every one of you.

My contacts in Hamburg and the schools I visited deserve recognition as well. I appreciate being able to work with you in order to accomplish my research, as it has added a great deal of value to my thesis.

Finally, I would like to thank my family and friends, who have been pillars of support. My mother, Jeanie, has always encouraged me to pursue higher academics and to follow my dreams. My father, Daniel, has been incredibly supportive no matter what direction I veer. My step-father, Dan, has pushed for excellence and instilled many important qualities into myself and my work. Furthermore, I would like to thank my aunt Toni, who has been an inspiration herself. In addition, thank you to my many friends who were understanding and encouraging during the thesis process.

Chapter One: Introduction

Introduction to the Problem

Today, more than ever, the world is witnessing an increase in the movement of people. People are leaving their home countries to go and work, live and raise a family in another country and society, starting over in a completely new environment. This affects not only the immigrants themselves, but also the citizens of the receiving country. How these cultures learn to live together is important because it determines whether there will be conflict or harmony. Often the members of the receiving country are not consulted about whether or not they would like immigrants, however they must deal with the situation appropriately. Therefore, immigrant integration policies and practices are of the utmost importance in aiding immigrants, but furthermore in assisting the receiving country's citizens in the adjustment.

James Banks (2007) states that “worldwide immigration is increasing racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and religious diversity throughout the United States as well as in other Western nations such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Australia” (p. v). Indeed, these are not the only countries that are experiencing changing populations. Banks (2007) argues that this is a time when the world “demands leaders, educators, and classroom teachers who can bridge impermeable cultural, ethnic, and religious borders, envision new possibilities, invent novel paradigms, and engage in personal transformation and visionary action” (p. v). Christine Bennett (2007) adds to this argument by stating currently, more than ever before, there is an urgent need for citizens in the world that have a strong “multicultural competence” and who aim for global goals such as social justice and economic equality in order for there to be a sustainable peace (p. xi). The intensified movement of people in recent times has not gone unnoticed, and must be addressed if peaceful societies are to exist.

The United Nations (2006) furthermore presents statistics on immigration and notes that as of 2005, there were approximately 191 million people living outside their country of birth, which represented 3% of the world’s population (p. 1). The UN (2006) then goes on to break down the numbers of immigrants by regions, writing, “most of the world’s migrants live in Europe (64 million), followed by Asia (53 million) and Northern America (45 million)” (p. 1). Not only are people migrating to work in foreign countries, but many are also settling abroad. As previously stated, this means that people of different cultural backgrounds are confronted with the issue of living together, and doing so harmoniously. However, this is a difficult task, since many individuals inhabiting the same countries now speak several languages, follow different religions, and have various understandings of life in general. Furthermore, some countries have not considered themselves to be traditional immigration countries, and therefore many natives are not overly receptive toward immigrants. These significant differences and attitudes can, and have, led to many problems in immigrant receiving countries.

Different countries have attempted to rectify the problem of increased tension and conflict by many means. Though there are indeed numerous ways of facilitating integration, intercultural education is an important facet. This thesis will examine the option of intercultural education as one method of addressing the integration concern facing receiving countries. This is, however, only a small part of a larger problem, and to address the multitude of additional options would not be possible in one thesis. Therefore, it is important to realize that this solution is not a panacea, but rather an aid in promoting more peaceful integration.

Intercultural education is a complex topic, and one that is not easily defined. However, for the purpose of this study, several terms relating to the theme will be addressed in the next section. Some concepts associated with intercultural education are tolerance, acceptance, peace education, assimilation, integration, diversity, and many more.

This study examines the concept of intercultural education in the context of the German secondary education system, and is a valid subject since Germany is the top European immigrant receiving country. It has also experienced many problems related to immigration, and has in turn tried to address the issue in various ways. Intercultural education has been one method, however it has varied throughout the country, hence the need for an evaluation of what is being implemented on a daily basis, and if it is making a difference. The purpose of this study is to investigate what is actually occurring in schools in regard to intercultural education, and how that is affecting students and teachers. Surveys were conducted to get the opinions of students and their teachers in a small sampling of secondary schools in the city-state of Hamburg, Germany. The sampling was limited, therefore this study cannot be treated as a fair representation of the German population as a whole, but rather is a small start to investigating an issue that impacts the country. This is useful information when added to official, federal policies and studies.

A wider goal of this research is that by examining current applications and interpretations of intercultural education and their levels of success, that Germany and perhaps other countries could improve their programs, equipped with the knowledge of what is more and less effective.

Key Terms

There are certain key terms that will be used frequently throughout this thesis, therefore a brief description of these concepts is helpful in understanding the further sections.

First, the two main terms that must be distinguished between are intercultural education and multicultural education. These concepts have been elaborated on greatly in various scholarly literature, and they vary from author to author. Often these terms have similar but not exact meanings, sometimes they are used interchangeably and other times they are understood to be very distinct ideas.

Multicultural education has many interpretations. For example, Ian Hill (2007) describes multicultural education as coming from the state systems of schooling and that it has developed out of a need to address migrant children, who are generally of a lower socio-economic status when compared to the rest of the community. However, historically it was also a notable movement in the 1960s and 1970s during the United States civil rights movement, but did not become more widely accepted and practiced until the 1980s (Hill, 2007, p. 248). In the beginning, according to Hill (2007), the focus was on ethnic and marginalized groups, but expanded to “embrace a mandate of social reconstruction for communities whose diversity went beyond, but was linked to, culture and language: equality of educational opportunity for minority groups, disenfranchised youth, girls, and students with disabilities” (p. 248). Hill argues that it was a political response resulting from issues of a plural society. He then goes on to state that multicultural education is successful when suspicion between people due to differences no longer exists, and furthermore when people, specifically the individual, accept that “different” does not equal the idea of “better” or “worse” (Hill, 2007, p. 248).

A different interpretation of this concept is presented by James Banks (1993), a prominent multicultural education scholar, who argues that this educational movement is “an idea stating that all students, regardless of the groups to which they belong, such as those related to gender, ethnicity, race, culture, language, social class, religion, or exceptionality, should experience educational equality in the schools” (p. 25) . This differs from many others, who argue that multicultural education is rather focused on minority groups or other groups that may be disadvantaged. Banks disagrees with this interpretation and maintains that it instead aims to help all students gain knowledge and live together more harmoniously in an increasingly diversified world. Concerning the major theorists and researchers in the field of multicultural education, he maintains that they mostly agree on the movement’s goal of restructuring educational institutions in order for all students, including those that are not considered to be at a disadvantage, to acquire skills, knowledge and ways of thinking that will aid them in a world which is increasingly diverse, both culturally and ethnically (Banks, 1993, p. 22). Banks’ understanding of multicultural education does not only reject the idea of mainly focusing on marginalized groups, but goes so far as to state that, “the claim that multicultural education is only for people of color and for the disenfranchised is one of the most pernicious and damaging misconceptions with which the movement has had to cope” (p. 22).

Multicultural education, according to Banks, has five dimensions. His dimensions are content integration, the knowledge construction process, prejudice reduction, an equity pedagogy, and an empowering school culture (Banks, 2007, p. 20-22). Banks (2007) maintains that this form of education encompasses a broad concept that has various different and yet important dimensions and that these can be used to reform schools in a manner that better reflects the goal of multicultural education (p. 20).

Banks (2007) furthermore mentions the complexity of this form of education and that a major problem is the oversimplification of the issue by “teachers, administrators, policy makers, and the public” as well as the media (p. 24). Therefore, this is a difficult term that is not easy to define, which is perhaps one of the reasons so many scholars disagree on the specifics.

Another multicultural education scholar that shares similarities with Banks is Christine Bennett. She argues that this method of education should “foster the intellectual, social, and personal development of all students to their highest potential” (Bennett, 2007, p. 4). Her interpretation consists of four dimensions: equity pedagogy, curriculum reform, multicultural competence and teaching toward social justice. It also encompasses four core values, “(1) acceptance and appreciation of cultural diversity, (2) respect for human dignity and universal human rights, (3) responsibility to the world community, and (4) respect for the earth” (Bennett, 2007, p. 12). While her core values may differ slightly from Banks’ ideas, she also asserts that with more recent developments that have made the world even more interconnected, multicultural education has widened to include a global perspective. Christine Sleeter and Carl Grant, also established multicultural education scholars, acknowledge that there are indeed various interpretations of the term and what it addresses. They maintain that multicultural education is mainly focused on differences and diversity and specifically includes “race, language, social class, gender disability, and sexual orientation” (Sleeter and Grant, 2003, p. iv). They furthermore argue the position that schools tend to operate in favor of the “haves”, putting the rest at a disadvantage. Thus, multicultural education, in their opinion, needs to address these areas of diversity while encouraging students to speak out, challenge the status quo, and to take an active role in changing their lives (Sleeter and Grant, 2003, p. 229).

Further complexities arise when considering both multicultural and intercultural education. Banks’ description of multicultural education sounds quite similar to that of intercultural education, and Hill argues that the two terms are often used interchangeably, although they do not necessarily have the same meaning.

Usage of both terms is not always consistent, but generally multicultural education concentrates more on race and ethnicity and is additionally more prominent in the United States, while intercultural education is used more in a European context (Hill, 2007, p. 248). Indeed, most European scholars tend to use the latter, and Jagdish Gundara (2000) states that English-speaking researchers and scholars usually prefer the term multicultural while the others tend to use the term intercultural (p. 223). Still, one can find articles from countries and publications based in Europe that use both intercultural and multicultural education as similar terms.

In discussing intercultural education, Hill maintains that this concept addresses the desire for all students to have an equal opportunity for learning, regardless of differences related to ethnicity, race, gender, socio-economic position, etc. Hill (2007) quotes the European journal, Intercultural Education , which discusses intercultural education and what that includes. Explaining intercultural education, it states, topics covered include: terminological issues, education and multicultural society today, intercultural communication, human rights and anti-racist education, pluralism and diversity in a democratic frame work, pluralism in post-communist and in postcolonial countries, migration and indigenous minority issues, refugee issues, language policy issues, curriculum and classroom organisation, and school development ( Intercultural Education 2006) (Hill, 2007, p. 248).

Intercultural education can therefore be understood to address a wide array of issues and concerns and therefore when discussing the idea of intercultural education in this paper, it is acknowledged that there are many different interpretations of the word as well as its purpose, goals and importance.

One last point Hill makes about distinguishing the two terms is based on a conference in May of 2000 that attempted to separate the terms more clearly. Here, the idea of multiculturalism was interpreted as a “conceptual and policy response to cultural diversity in a region or state” whereas interculturalism was understood to focus more on communication as well as interaction among cultures (Hill, 2007, p. 250). This definition of terms was previously supported by the International Bureau of Education (UNESCO) back in 1990 at the 42nd International Conference on Education (Hill, 2007, p. 250). Therefore, in a more general attempt to summarize, multicultural could be more concerned with diversity, while intercultural refers to the interaction among different cultures. Gundara (2000) goes on to argue that, “the term 'multicultural' has increasingly been seen to reflect the natures of societies and used in descriptive terms, while the term 'intercultural' is indicative of the interactions, negotiations, and processes” (p. 223). Again, these two terms are quite similar, though they can be used separately for specific meanings.

Still, other scholars have their interpretations of the terms. Yvonne Leeman and Guuske Ledoux (2003) describe intercultural education as a form of integration, where in an ideal world it would “develop a common core of knowledge, values, and attitudes that creates bonds between peoples and enables them to function in society”, while at the same time promoting respect for “individual and cultural differences” (p. 386). They go on to quote the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science regarding intercultural education, stating that it is aimed at preparing pupils from the majority population and the ethnic-minority pupils for participating in a multicultural society. Young people should gain knowledge about one another's background, circumstances and culture so as to further mutual understanding and to combat the prejudice, discrimination and racism associated with ethnic-cultural differences” (Leeman and Ledoux, 2003, p. 387).

Thus they have expressed goals for such education, as well as view it as being vital to a modern, well-functioning society.

There are other authors that take a more simplistic and general approach to the term, and Lotty Eldering (1996) understands intercultural education in a broader sense as education that considers ethnic and cultural differences among students (p. 318). Here, diversity is expressed as a main focus, which may lean more toward the concept of multicultural education. Furthermore, she does not provide specifics on her concept of intercultural education, but rather leaves much to be desired regarding a concise interpretation. However, this perspective is valid in that she is not alone in her understanding, illustrating that some scholars have very precise meanings concerning terms while others may conceptualize them in a more general manner. The previous examples present several explanations of both types of education, however, for clarity in this study the use of intercultural education will be used. Although one term will be referred to, it must be stated that the use of it in this thesis will actually combine goals from both forms of education. As mentioned, these terms have similar meanings, in the fact that they concern a form of education in which cultural diversity, awareness, tolerance, respect, integration and acceptance is part of the curriculum. However, intercultural education will be used to encompass these ideas.

Again, perhaps it makes more sense to use multicultural in the United States, because it truly is more of a society that has almost always been multicultural and sees its future as such. On the other hand, most of Europe, or at least a good portion of it, has not always seen itself in such a light and therefore the concept of intercultural, or “between cultures”, really does seem to be more accurate. This thesis is mainly centered on Germany, and Germans have almost always considered themselves to be a homogeneous society and that immigrants are clearly of the Other.1 This outlook does not entirely lend itself as easily to the idea of multicultural. However, in this paper intercultural education will be employed as a concept that addresses cultural diversity, awareness, tolerance2, respect, acceptance and integration as part of the curriculum that aims to prepare all pupils for a diverse and interconnected world and a harmonious future therein.

In addition, one important difference between the two terms is that intercultural education is understood by the researcher to be more of an exchange between people, which encompasses interaction. “Inter-“, meaning between or among, implies that intercultural education involves participation from all parties. This conceptual difference is one of the reasons that the use of intercultural education has been chosen over multicultural education.

Two last terms that are important to this thesis and that have many interpretations and uses are integration and assimilation. Richard Wolf and Mihaela Tudose's (2005) explanation is thorough and well-suited to this study. They state that, integration means an acquisition of rights, access to positions and statuses, a change in individual characteristics, a building of social relations, and a formation of feelings of belonging and identification by immigrants towards the receiving society. It is a process that depends on a number of conditions relative to a host society's so-called 'openness' to a new group of people (Wolf and Tudose, 2005, p. 104).

Therefore it is not only understood to be a one-way street. Immigrants are expected to do a fair amount of the work when it comes to integration, however the receiving country must also make an effort or the process will fail.

Integration, though, ought not to be confused with desegregation, which is not the goal of intercultural education. Desegregation is more focused on eliminating the isolation of certain groups in a society. While this is a noble aim, integration goes further to incorporate everyone.

One final distinction to be made is that of the difference between integration and assimilation . This thesis aims to address the concept of integration rather than assimilation. These terms are at odds with one another, one encouraging the hiding and eventual loss of culture, while the other searches for a way to blend cultures together, or to be tolerant and respectful of each other, while learning from one another. As stated in the concluding remarks of the Weimar Appeal (2003), integration is possible only if people belonging to different cultures and religions live together on the basis of equal rights and if their political, social, economic and cultural involvement is guaranteed. In the words of the Federal President, Johnnes Rau, integration does not mean abandonment of one’s roots and faceless assimilation. It provides the alternative to the disconnected parallel existence of incompatible cultures (p. 138).

Thus, in the literature review models of integration are focused on over those of assimilation. As Wolf and Tudose (2005) write, assimilation “almost immediately evokes emotional reactions and connotations of cultural suppression in many audiences” (p. 104). Assimilation is often a more negative policy that does not necessarily encourage a harmonious society.


After a more thorough understanding of what intercultural education encompasses, one ought to know why it is relevant. Most scholars and authorities seem to agree that it is necessary in helping people within (as well as across) societies function better and live together with less conflict. It is a way to assist in creating a more harmonious present and future. Nigel Grant (1997) believes that, “unless we can educate children and adults to value their own cultural entity and those of others and sensitise them to the unavoidable pluralism that we all live in now—a fearsomely difficult task—the alternative is terrifying to contemplate” (p. 11). This perspective may be slightly extreme, however it is important to recognize the magnitude of the issue. Furthermore, besides maintaining the importance of the matter, Grant argues that this type of education is not easily accomplished.

Sandra Mahoney and Jon Schamber (2004) share a similar viewpoint when they state, “if students are to become successful in a diverse world, a large part of that success will be the ability to communicate and negotiate among diverse cultures.

This goal remains a challenge because of the complexities associated with cultural difference” (p. 311).

However, one might question why the method of education. There are many pertinent answers for this. The Council of the European Union finds education to be highly important in addressing the issue of immigrant integration, which is a point this thesis also maintains. They emphasize the importance of education the host society has on immigrants as well as their cultures, and recognize that education is critical in preparing immigrants and their descendants to be more successful and active members of society (Council of the European Union, 2004, p. 6). Therefore, as previously stated, intercultural education is a collaborative effort and is not simply limited to immigrants or the marginalized.

Furthermore, Newton (2003) makes a powerful point when he states, Education is a form of socialization. The purpose of education is to modify behavior, to make the individual a different person from what he would otherwise be. It is for this reason that educational policy is always social policy and that, in the modern world, the school is employed, deliberately, for the achievement of definite social purposes, becomes, in fact, a crucial element in national policy (Newton, taken from Sleeter and Grant, 2003, p. 123).

Therefore, education is a highly influential means of getting different parts of society to learn to cooperate in a more effective manner. Intercultural education aids in the immigrant integration process, which is already difficult enough, and successful integration faces many challenges.

History of Immigration

Once a clear understanding of the terms has been established it is important to present a history of immigration, especially in Europe, so that one can better understand what position countries such as Germany are in currently. This section focuses mainly on history post-WWII and discusses how several countries, specifically Germany, have been affected.

Traditional vs. Non-Traditional Countries

Some countries are regarded as traditional immigration countries, due to a strong history of immigration, while others are not, considering they did not experience larger waves of immigration until a later point in time. Countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand fall into the category of traditional immigration, while most of Western Europe, Germany included, have not been included in this group (Bauer et al, 2000, p. 1). These two groups differ in that the first viewed immigration as not only essential to the founding but also to the development of the countries, and is still encouraged to the present day. In addition, the countries in the first grouping have a record of inviting immigrants not just to migrate and work, but also to settle, and in larger numbers than the second grouping (Bauer et al, 2000, p. 1).

Europe’s different historical trend of receiving immigrants at a later time has occurred mostly as a result of post-colonial immigration or labor recruitment. The United Kingdom, France and the Netherlands are among some of the first category, while Germany, Austria and Sweden are among the recruiting group. Finally, other countries in Europe such as Italy, Spain and Ireland have had histories based more on emigration rather than immigration, which has seen a turn-around recently (Bauer et al, 2000, p. 2).

The traditional countries have had less restrictions concerning immigration, but have still seen some selectivity. For example, the United States was fairly unrestricted in its immigration policy until the 1920s when the country instated a slightly stricter policy to determine who would be granted a visa. Canada and New Zealand have, in the last few decades, implemented point policies which make their immigration policies more selective than they previously were. However, they still encourage immigration, and in the present day their focus is more on skilled workers, business people, refugees, and families of these categories (Bauer et al, 2000, p. 2).

Post World War II Immigration in Europe: The Case of Germany

After discussing the differences between traditional and non-traditional immigration countries, one can better understand the case of Germany. The time period following WWII in Europe witnessed a dramatic change in immigration. Different scholars divide up the phases in various ways. However, many seem satisfied with Schmidt and Zimmermann’s categorization of four phases. Bauer et al (2000) list them as, “i) periods of post-war adjustment and de-colonization, ii) labor migration, iii) restrained migration, and iv) dissolution of socialism and afterwards” (p. 3). They consider this first phase to include the years from 1945 until the early 1960s, during which Germany received approximately 20 million people who had been displaced by the war. Fertig and Schmidt (2001) add that from 1945 until 1950, most of the people coming to Germany were “displaced people of German ethnicity originating in Eastern Europe” (p. 3). Other countries such as Great Britain, France and more received immigrants from European colonies as well as workers returning from former overseas territories (Bauer et al, 2000, p. 4).

The second phase they describe briefly overlaps the first and lasts from roughly 1955 until 1973. During this time period there was an increase in economic growth and labor shortages, thereby prompting several countries to actively recruit usually unskilled labor from other countries. Germany’s goal in recruiting labor was to maintain and support its ever-growing manufacturing sector despite the lack of workers, bringing in people to work in factories and services (Fertig and Schmidt, 2001, p. 3). Fertig and Schmidt (2001) maintain that there was an excessive demand for labor during the 1960s that could not be met by the increased participation of females in the labor force, which in other places sufficed. Therefore, there was a notable focus on enticing others to migrate to Germany in order to satisfy labor shortages (Fertig and Schmidt, 2001, p. 3).

Hansen (2003) agrees, stating that by the mid-1950s, Germany and the rest of continental Europe had a level of demand for labour that could no longer be satisfied domestically (or, in Germany, by expellees from eastern Europe). In a pattern common to most continental European countries, Germany looked first to southern Europe (believing that such migrants could be assimilated more readily into the labour market), later to Turkey and finally to North Africa (p. 25).

Germany, more specifically, began with Italy (1955), Spain and Greece (1960), and progressed to Turkey (1961), Morocco (1963), Portugal (1964), Tunisia (1965) and Yugoslavia (1968) (Hansen, 2003, p. 25). Approximately 5 million people migrated north from Southern Europe to work (Bauer et al, 2000, p. 4). It is also important to remember that during the 1960s, the German Democratic Republic (GDR)3 recruited workers of its own. Veysel Özcan (2007) writes about the GDR, “it concluded agreements with other socialist states, including Poland (1965), Hungary (1967), Mozambique (1979) and Vietnam (1980)”, however, it “concentrated more rigorously on limiting periods of residency than the Federal Republic did, as it wanted to avoid any ‘creeping integration’” (p. 2).

However, the economic boom in Europe did not last. There were recessions in the late 1960s, then in 1973 the first oil crisis struck, and with it came further economic problems (Fertig and Schmidt, 2001, p. 3). The oil crisis took form after the organization of the Arab Oil Boycott, which happened shortly after the Yom Kippur War. The raising of oil prices caused inflation in many countries that relied on crude oil, as did many European countries.

Germany experienced its first recession in 1967. The country had been relying on a labor plan based on the rotation principle, where immigrant workers work for a certain period of time, leave, and other migrant workers then rotate in to repeat the same process. The Germans believed that their labor plan of workers returning home in a less successful economy was working. The government had passed a law allowing “only one-year work permits that were tied to a specific job and a particular employer, who could renew the permits but could not dismiss guestworkers during the year specified” (Constant and Massey, 2002, p. 6). The authorities believed that once the economy slowed down, migration would not be a problem since visas would expire, causing the guest workers to rotate out.

There was indeed a significant number of workers that did return to their home countries, however they often came back after a short visit once they found their economic goals met and new ones developing. Furthermore, it was more cost- efficient for employers to keep the same workers since they had already invested time and money in training them, and employers would even seek to extend their workers’ visas. The workers wanted to stay where they were since they had a steady income and good jobs, and as mentioned before, were achieving their initial economic goals (Constant and Massey, 2002, p. 6).

Therefore, when the early 1970s witnessed a slowing economy without a slowing immigration rate, the German SPD-FDP government decided to issue a halt on immigration, effective 1973. As Hansen (2004) argues, this move unintentionally locked in the foreign population in Germany (p.26). These workers realized that if they left, they were not guaranteed easy access to return, and therefore many simply opted not to leave. Then, with the help of churches, NGOS and other activists, they secured enough legal judgments to present them with the right to stay. Much to the disappointment of many natives, this lack of return migration could not be forcibly altered, and their “temporary” solution was suddenly looking more permanent, especially between 1974-1988 when many of these migrants brought over their families (Bauer et al, 2000, p. 4). Constant and Massey (2002) even state that after 1974, the majority of immigrants coming to Germany have done so as a result of family reunification (p.6).

Germany was certainly not alone in this experience. Europe in general was suffering economically and other countries that had guest worker programs (such as France, Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and Switzerland), also either ended or harshly reduced their labor migration (Hansen, 2004, p. 26).

The fourth phase of Bauer et al’s immigration classification involves the years after 1988, during which, they claim, immigration has been more dominated by east- west migration and the movement of refugees and asylum seekers. Bauer et al (2000) state, according to estimates of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the total number of asylum seekers and refugees in Europe in 1987 was about 190,000 but increased to 700,000 by 1992. Whereas in the 1970s and 1980s asylum seekers originated mainly in Africa and Asia, the inflow of asylum seekers and refugees from European countries increased significantly in the 1990s (p. 4).

This resulted largely from the fall of the Iron Curtain and the political problems experienced in the former Eastern European socialist states. Furthermore, the war in Yugoslavia only added to the trouble, as well as Turkey’s conflicts among the Kurds and Turks.

Not all countries accepted this increase in refugees and asylum seekers without a fight. Germany was so bold as to change an article in its constitution that allowed for a reduction of asylum seekers, thus allowing them to send back those asylum seekers that arrived from elsewhere in Europe as well as other countries that were legally defined as “safe” countries (Bauer et al, 2000, p. 5). This emphasizes how anti-immigration Germany has been at times. However, after these changes, Europe experienced a reduction of such immigrants after 1992. Therefore, in 1995 there were approximately 300,000 refugee and asylum seekers that migrated to Europe, although one must not forget the end of the war in Yugoslavia very well might have affected those numbers (Bauer et al, 2000, p. 5).

Referring to the 1990s, John Rodden (2001) remarks on how Germany had become “the immigrant haven of Europe” and not simply a multicultural society. He also adds that the country received more immigrants during the 1990s than all of the European Union combined (Rodden, 2001, p. 72). Furthermore, there has been a return to temporary workers. Özcan (2007) states that after the end of the 1980s, “the temporary employment of foreign workers, including contract employees, seasonal workers and showman’s assistants has once again assumed a significant role. In 2005, 320,383 permits were granted to seasonal workers and showman’s assistants” (p. 2). As of 2006, the foreign population in Germany was approximately 8.2%, or 6,751,002 people (Özcan, 2007, p.1). The diversity of the population can be illustrated through the variety in countries of origins. For instance, according to the German Federal Statistical Office, as of December 2006 the top ten most common foreign citizenships in Germany were: Turkish 1,738,831; Italian 534,657; Polish 361,696; Serbian-Montenegrin 316,823; Greek 303,761; Croatian 227,510; Russian 187,514; Austrian 175,653; Bosnian-Herzegovinian 157,094; and Ukrainian 128,950 (Özcan, 2007, p.3). The next few figures illustrate these points.

Figure 1.1

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This first figure, which Özcan took from the German Federal Statistical Office, presents data from the late 1960s until 2005, showing the number of foreigners in Germany. The next figure regarding Germany, taken from the UN, presents more limited information and only from a select number of years. While it gives general population figures, it does not break them down by subcategories such as country of origin, etc.

Figure 1.2

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Therefore, Figure 1.3 is useful in that it breaks down the top ten foreign populations by country of origin, reiterating the diversity already mentioned.

Figure 1.3

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1.4 addresses the section of the population “with a migration background” since the numbers then include people whose parents migrated to Germany and who were simply born in the country, but are not of German descent. It also includes immigrants who have become naturalized. This distinction is important to some scholars in that it can “illustrate that citizenship as the sole indicator is insufficient to adequately describe the immigrant population” (Özcan, 2007, p.3). To better clarify, Özcan (2007) writes, “persons with a migration background can be foreign or German citizens, and include the following groups of people: foreigners born abroad, foreigners born in Germany, (Spät-)Aussiedler, naturalised citizens who have themselves immigrated, as well as their children who have no personal, direct experience of immigration” (p. 3). This distinction is also significant to note because it changes the number of immigrants or foreign population in Germany, depending on which definition one considers.

Figure 1.4

illustration not visible in this excerpt

As already stated, Germany attempted to curb its intake of asylum seekers and refugees, and has been fairly successful, turning many to seek residence in France (Özcan, 2007, p.5). The next graph shows how the numbers of asylum seekers and refugees in Germany have declined since 1995.


1This will be more fully elaborated on later.

2The actual goal would aspire to much more than tolerance, and indeed tolerance is not the full argument. However, it is a starting point, and can be referenced throughout the literature.

3Also known as East Germany, which was a self−declared socialist state in existence from f949 until f99O.

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Intercultural Education and its Effects on Immigrant Integration: A Case Study of the Secondary System in Hamburg, Germany
The University of Kansas
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Kate Austin (Author), 2009, Intercultural Education and its Effects on Immigrant Integration: A Case Study of the Secondary System in Hamburg, Germany, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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