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The cultural consequences of Germany's citizenship laws

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  1. Introduction
  2. Germany's citizenship laws
  3. Cultural consequences
  4. Conclusion

Germany's 2000 citizenship law, by making the German nationality one of the most complicated to claim, has forced the artistic expression of Germany's ethnic and religious minorities into a position where it is defined solely in terms of the ethnic origin of its creators. Therefore, this artistic expression is ridden with trans-cultural concerns which trump any other central messages conveyed by the work of art. Insofar as legislation produces strong and durable effects on the mentalities of the populations it applies to, the 2000 German law on citizenship and immigration is a substantial and decisive factor in the perception of ?immigrant cultures? by the ethnic German majority. This particularly applies to German-Turkish artists ? especially authors ?, who find themselves implicitly compartmentalized into the category of ?Foreign?, almost always against their own will. This phenomenon is most visible in literature, for instance through the adaptation of language to the identity conflict experienced by many Turkish authors in Germany. By developing their own particular idioms on the margin of mainstream German and by choosing the German to Turkish words ratio within their writing, Turkish authors regain leverage in how their writing is perceived by their readership. The language parameter on the one hand and the readers' preconceptions eventually balance each other.

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