Space and the CITY

Annika M. Hinze, Ph.D.

new adventures

Recently, I have become very interested in the issue of gentrification. After the American city was loathed, neglected, and rejected throughout the last decades of the 20th century, inner-city neighborhoods have once again become a popular place to live. But return-migration to the city has led bigger, better development projects throughout the city to house and entertain. Not always to the delight of all urban residents. In my book project, I look at large-scale urban development projects and democratic decision-making in Berlin, New York City, and Vancouver.

In January 2016, I also published a short piece on urban development and gecekondu housing in Istanbul for the Middle East Institute’s Governing Megacities essay series.

book

My first book, Turkish Berlin: Integration Policy and Urban Space, (University of Minnesota Press, 2013) explores the process in which 2nd generation Turkish immigrants in Berlin, Germany find a home in their urban immigrant neighborhood. Like them, the neighborhood feels neither exclusively German nor exclusively Turkish, but is a hybrid that lies somewhere in-between.

Turkish Berlin

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further weighty volumes

I spent the summer of 2012 in Istanbul laying the groundwork for my next big research project about “return migrants” from Germany to Turkey. Of course, most of them are not “returning” at all. Instead, they are born and bread in Germany, but many of them have never felt that that they completely fit in…

Over the past forty years, much media attention has been paid to Turkish “guest worker immigrants” and their descendants in Germany. Hired during an economic boom time in Germany in the early 1960s, the former Turkish “guest workers,” as implied by the term, were meant to remain in Germany only temporarily to fill gaps in the labor market. They settled in urban neighborhoods, made homes, had children and grandchildren, and remained in the country. As German citizenship law was expanded to become more inclusive towards immigrants in 2000 and again in 2005, many former guest workers naturalized. However, despite legislators’ willingness to make German citizenship more inclusive, stereotypes Turkish immigrants and their descendants as an undesirable drain on the German welfare state; and, as a consequence of such stereotypes, German attitudes towards “German-Turks” have been predominantly negative.

In 2008, the German Federal Statistical Office (Statistisches Bundesamt) found that the number of German-Turks returning to Turkey (34,800) had now exceeded the number of Turks immigrating to Germany (26,600). Compelling stories in German magazines and newspapers, such as Der Spiegel or Süddeutsche Zeitung point to the reasons for this new phenomenon: German-Turks are still not perceived as Germans — they remain hybrids at best in the eyes of German society. As a result, well-educated German-Turks who do not feel that they can obtain high-end jobs in Germany instead seek their future in a growing and increasingly internationalized Turkish marketplace.

However, German-Turks are not necessarily “accepted back” into Turkish society easily. After all, in Turkey they are perceived as Germans and not as returning Turks. My research summer at the American Research Institute in Turkey (ARIT) in beautiful Istanbul, where I met and shared a bathroom with Sherri Grasmuck, sociologist at Temple University, led to a fruitful collaboration on what we now call heritage migration. This February, the The Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies published our article “Transnational heritage migrants in Istanbul: second generation Turk-American and Turk-German ‘Returnees’ in their parents’ homeland.”

 

berlin wall

Berlin neighborhoods as formerly divided by the Wall. Map by Leah Patgorski.