Postwar negotiations:: the first generation of Turkish "guest workers" in West Germany, 1961-1973
Author(s)Miller, Jennifer A.
Contributor(s)Miller, Jennifer A. (author)
Davis, Belinda (chair)
Kaplan, Temma (internal member)
Hellbeck, Jochen (internal member)
Yurdakul, Gokce (outside member)
Graduate School - New Brunswick
Germany--Emigration and immigration--History
Turkey--Emigration and immigration--History
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AbstractThis dissertation explores the immigration of Turkish "guest workers" to West Germany in the 1960s and 1970s and focuses on the decision making of workers who actively shaped new lives in West Germany, as they dealt with the emerging permanence of their situation. The frequently mismatched interests of the German employers, Employment Bureau Officials, dorm managers, and employers, and of the Turkish workers themselves, highlight the personal as well as institutional negotiations inherent in the guest worker process. Significantly, the immigration of Turkish guest workers to West Germany during the years 1961-1973 now stands at the center of several topical discussions about Germany's postwar ethnic relations, on citizenship in the new Europe, and of Muslim communities' integration in Europe. Turkish guest workers are necessarily a part of the central issues of German and European social, political, and cultural history after 1945, especially in the context of debates concerning "who are Europeans?" and "what makes Europe?" The sources for this dissertation include Turkish-language sources, including oral history interviews, as well as German sources in addition to an alltag or everyday-life approach to consider the individuals involved. I explore the entire process, examining, for example, interactions between low-ranking German officials and average Turkish workers during the pre-departure application process in Turkey; in a workers' dormitory, as captured in the surveillance records of the dorm manager; and in the workers' own labor organizing. I reveal a breakdown of the streamlined, orderly process that published workers' instructional manuals, the media, and politicians portrayed. Comparing these published accounts with workers' own versions and with memos and records not meant for the public eye demonstrates that there was no standardized guest-worker application, housing, or experience. Additionally, at every step workers achieved modifications and negotiations that reveal ways in which male and female workers were able to maintain a sense of self within a highly controlled and regulated process. In sum, the thesis gives an entirely new picture of the textured and variegated spaces of the lives of individual Turkish guest workers within West Germany's specific postwar history.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 201-215).