Faas, D., ‘The Europeanisation of German Ethnic Identities: the case of German and Turkish students in two Stuttgart secondary schools’ in International Studies in Sociology of Education, 17, 1, (2007), pp 45 - 62
International Studies in Sociology of Education 17 1
Germany’s national (or ethnic) identity has become thoroughly European and there are even signs
of Eurocentrism. This is particularly problematic for the Turkish Muslims who, arguably, are not
European. This article explores how fifteen-year-old German and Turkish youth in two Stuttgart
secondary schools, one in a predominantly working-class area (Tannberg Hauptschule) and the
other in a more middle-class environment (Goethe Gymnasium), negotiate their identities. Drawing
on documentary sources, focus groups and semi-structured interviews, the research found that at
Tannberg, which at times adopted a Eurocentric approach and where some teachers were getting
close to being Islamophobic, young people developed ethno-national identities. In contrast, at
Goethe, which promoted European values alongside rather than instead of multicultural values,
young people employed national-European hybrid identities. This article raises important questions
about the role of education in the development of identities, and how to address notions of cultural
insensitivity and inequality.
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