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Turkish Muslims in a German city: entrepreneurialism, residential self-determination and integration in historical perspective

Hackett, S (2014) Turkish Muslims in a German city: entrepreneurialism, residential self-determination and integration in historical perspective. In: MiReKoc 10th Year Symposium 'Borders, Mobility, Diversity: Old Questions, New Challenges', 20-21 November 2014, Koç University, Istanbul.

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Abstract

This paper provides a historical insight into the Turkish Muslim community in Bremen, a city that has been overwhelmingly neglected in the academic literature despite being home to a well-established and substantial Turkish population. Drawing on a collection of 21oral history interviews, it traces this community’s entrepreneurial and residential patterns and behaviour from the early 1970s onwards. It charts Turkish Muslims from the time at which they first ventured onto the local labour and housing markets as independent agents following the abandonment of the guest-worker rotation programme through to their emergence as fixed attributes on the city’s landscape and up until the present day. Much of the corresponding academic literature has long been dominated by claims of Turks in Germany being pushed into self-employment and poor-quality housing as a result of discrimination, and poor employment and residential opportunities. Yet this paper exposes the extent to which Bremen’s Turks’ entrepreneurial and residential patterns and behaviour have been predominantly influenced and shaped by autonomy and self-determination. For many of Bremen’s Turkish entrepreneurs, self-employment was a goal from the outset and continues to be a popular employment path amongst the younger generations. Choice has also played a large role in the housing sector in that members of the city’s Turkish community have been both attracted to and deterred from individual neighbourhoods as a result of what is perceived as their German or Turkish identities. Similarly, Turkish homeowners have often identified owner-occupation as a long-term commitment to their local surroundings. Whilst both contemporary politicians and migration scholars often look towards the future for a new and evolving immigration paradigm, this paper reveals the benefits of a historical approach. In doing so, it makes informed suggestions for future areas of academic research as well as integration and diversity policies, exposing the link between old questions and new challenges.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2015 15:14
Last Modified: 29 Apr 2016 13:27
URI: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/5131
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