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“Do you want to be a politician in Turkey?” – German first and second generation immigrant students and their motivation to study political sciences

Andrea Szukala
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Andrea Szukala
Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Open Panel

Abstract

This paper reports on a study that was conducted at the University of Duisburg-Essen in 2010. Techniques drawn from re-constructive narrative analysis and QDA are used to analyze the structure and content of different types of identity and motivational configurations to become a political scientist or a social studies educator in Germany (ca. 40h narrative interviewing, n=17). This explorative study compares the political socialization of young adults having an immigration background to those from underprivileged families without any multicultural family background. Which reference systems are of crucial importance to young adults from disadvantaged communities when it comes to the definition of the political self as ‘professional’ – often neglecting the beliefs and the advices of family members and of other actors of the social network? Students’ narratives reveal a negative political self-concept that is often linked to ambivalent feelings about the own group. Equity issues and doubts about the fairness of the German societal and educational systems seem to be a moderating factor when it comes to a career decision. Ethnic identity constructions play a more important role when second generation immigrant students justify their academic choices: The development of an effective binational political self seems to be a painful task, when there is a continuous conflict between their own ethnic identity and the national identity of the host society (Phinney et al. 2001). In view of the importance of multicultural political elites for the advancement of the immigrants'' political integration implications for research and future educational practice are also discussed.