Group Boundaries in the Making: Solidarity and Identification Among German-Turks and Germans in the Wake of Syrian Immigration

Research question/goal: 

How does the growth of the Syrian immigrant group affect the relations between German Turks and ‘native’ Germans in Germany? The sharp increase in the number of (mainly) Syrian asylum seekers in 2015 has sparked new debates about national identity and the integration of immigrants. While research has focused on the public opinion and the reactions of Germans to this new demographic reality, it has not yet been studied how this new immigrant population affects one of Germany’s largest and oldest immigrant populations: Turkish immigrants and their descendants. However, the presence of a new minority group may change existing group boundaries.
We combine registry data and name-based ethnicity classification to sample German Turks and Germans without migration background. The participants are then asked to participate in an incentivized survey experiment using an information stimulus and a behavioural game. The results from the behavioural game allow for examining changes in minority–majority solidarity, national identification among German Turks and, more generally, the potential re-drawing of group boundaries. The project goes beyond existing research, which has focused on the unique case of the United States, and expands our knowledge of how demographic change due to immigration affects social relations between majority and minority groups in contemporary European societies.

Current stage: 

The project proposal is currently being reviewed as part of a larger ERC project and revised for submission as an Emmy Noether project at the German Research Foundation (DFG). We are currently collecting experimental survey data with an online access panel in Germany to examine demographic change, Muslim immigration and shifting group boundaries together with Marc Helbling and students of the MA/PhD seminar “A Hands-On Introduction to Survey Experiments“ at the University of Mannheim. A prior seminar in 2021 and data collection in collaboration with the students of a replication and reproduction seminar has resulted in a joint publication in Sociological Science with the title “Demographic change and shifting group boundaries in Germany: The effect of group threat on perceptions of who has a migration background".

Fact sheet

2020 to 2024
in preparation
Data Sources: 
original data (survey)
Geographic Space: