Integration and Culture: What are the Next Steps?

The article “Is multi-kulti dead?” which focuses on integration of immigrants in Europe—specifically Germany—sparked my reflections on meanings of nationalism and culture. In this piece from The Economist, Germany is initially portrayed as an unaccepting, nationalist state that is unwilling to integrate foreigners into the German state. With the influx of immigrants and new religions, many Germans desire “’sharply restricting’ Muslim religious practice…[and] a third think the country is overrun with foreigners and a tenth say they want a strong Fuhrer.”1  Germany has long been a non-pluralistic, nationalist state. Lately, though, it has been moving away from such, but people such as Chancellor Angela Merkel have argued that recent attempts of integration and multiculturalism have “failed, absolutely failed.”2 Merkel and other government officials such as President Christian Wulff have sought to change this; the government is constructing a law “that would make it easier for the hundreds of thousands of immigrants in Germany with professional qualifications to have them recognised so that they can do something more rewarding than cleaning houses.”3 It seems that Germany, despite its rigid history, is moving in the right direction.

The article argues that despite this governmental reform towards integration, not everyone in Germany is on the same page. German citizens have not yet fully embraced new religions and cultures, shedding light on the stiff nationalism and purity that has often isolated Germany and its citizens from the rest of the world throughout history. The author asks many questions at the end of the piece, all of which focus on the potential future for German multiculturalism and what measures Germany needs to take to further address the issue. One of those questions is “Will Muslims be forced to choose between practising their religion and adopting a German identity?”4

The world is becoming more diverse as we know it. How dedicated are we to integrating countries that have historically been predominantly non-pluralistic? How will we go about successfully and peacefully integrating other cultures? Are countries such as the United States and Germany avoiding the seemingly daunting task of integration; are we afraid of it? Or are we not addressing the issue in the right way? I think all of these questions are very important to think about as we move forward in society.

  1. “Is Multi-kulti Dead?” The Economist. 2010 []
  2. Ibid []
  3. Ibid []
  4. Ibid []

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