What is your ethnicity




PARTIAL DOCUMENT:

[Footnote 1: I would like to thank Hans L sch, Felicitas E er and Claudia F. Bruner for their numerous suggestions and support in drafting the manuscript.]

  1. Despite the permanent and therefore long familiar settlement of migrants and their descendants in Germany, it is astonishing how persistent in political-public and scientific discourses there are openly national-ethnic intolerance and incompatibility presumptions. This shows the ethnicizing view: people are reduced in their identity to a representative characteristic - their ethnic-cultural origin - and thus tend to be compared and assessed as exclusive representatives of traditions of origin. Once categorically separated and sorted, other individual characteristics of people apparently no longer matter. What needs and interests a person sworn in on his ancestry can achieve in this country depends not least on what rights and sympathies he is granted or denied as a member of a certain national-ethnic collective.
  2. Nationality and ethnicity, in all their respected and outlawed varieties, assert themselves in a very practical way. The fact that nationality, origin and descent can usually only be "terminated" to a very limited extent is an eloquent indication that what the individual may personally associate with these collective characteristics does not matter too much being allowed or denied - entry, residence, etc. - is not a question of personal point of view, but practically applicable law.
  3. Our project explores the question of what brings young people when and why to use their national or ethnic-cultural origin as an argument

    and to use a yardstick to distinguish between oneself and others (social closeness and distance). Instead of specifying young people in advance on the role of representatives of individual nations, cultures or ethnic groups, we consider them under socially and spatially comparable framework conditions (Munich's Westend district), in their everyday manners, interests, attitudes and biographical experiences. Such a perspective should avoid that peculiarities, behavior or conflicts of and between the young people are attributed to "cultural" or "ethnic" differences and "explained" beforehand.

  4. It cannot be determined in advance whether characteristics such as ethnic and cultural origin are particularly striking or perhaps also indifferent distinctions. In certain social, political and legal contexts, you can count something on the one hand, indifferent on the other, or be kept secret as far as possible (if that is possible). We also believe that it is by no means coincidental when and why someone from the ensemble of his (different) affiliations refers to "ethnicity" or is determined by others.
  5. Nationality and ethnicity can be essential components of identity for the individual, but do not have to be. However, anyone who labels nationality and ethnicity as irrevocable titles of ownership of identity elevates the simple fact that someone has a state identity document as well as ancestry and origin to the rank of "basic equipment" of identity.
  6. Our empirical findings are intended to contradict a widespread notion according to which the reference to certain ethnic-cultural roots alone says something about which realities, interpretations, orientations and practices result for the individual. There are bridges between the respected (self) oath of ethnicity and the outlawed racism.
  7. Questions about who "we" are and who the "others", what is "home" and what is "foreign" can only be met to a very limited extent with references to "blood", geography, nationality, language, ethnicity or culture. to be familiar, different, strange and / or (still) looking for something else is also a question of predetermined collective or political-legal

    Lich created affiliations as well as a judgment that has to be made every day by the individual.

    But even if the individual makes his collective affiliations and practical state-legal integrations his own cause and identifies with them, this always represents a personal decision as to where he wants to place himself, when and why. This self-positioning cannot be had without constant discussion and struggles with collective attributions. But this also means saying goodbye to notions that identity is a reliable lifeworld product of ultimately non-split solid cores - e.g. national-ethnic roots - and not a lifelong event of repeated elections.

So much for the briefly outlined core theses and theoretical foundations of our project. How did we proceed in practice in order to empirically grasp the situation and context-specific meanings of ethnic self-and external ascriptions? First of all, the location of the examination:



The Munich Westend stands for a "multicultural milieu", which in some respects should be typical of socio-structurally similar districts in other large cities in the Federal Republic of Germany. [Footnote 2: The interim report to the DFG entitled 'Young people in ethnically heterogeneous milieus' by Dannenbeck / E er / L sch (1996) provides a differentiated structural analysis of the field of observation.]
It has a distinctive residential character that still has traces of proletarian tradition. Spacious multi-storey apartment blocks of cooperative housing from the beginning of the century grouped around inner courtyards are striking. At the beginning of the eighties, extensive renovation measures began, which have meanwhile led to a significant improvement in the quality of living.

The relationship between young people and their district is ambivalent - it fluctuates between strong emotional identification and bored indifference. Many of the young people we observed and interviewed spend a large part of their free time in the Westend. Your most important and best friends live here. They rarely feel the need to go beyond the boundaries of their district. They were often born and / or raised here, and later

ter attended the local elementary and secondary school and formed most of the friendships within the district. They "love" the Westend. "I'm glad I grew up in the Westend," says a 16-year-old girl, primarily referring to the good and long-term friends she has made here and on whom she can always rely can. On the other hand, however, the young people repeatedly experience the extremely deficient infrastructure. The poor leisure opportunities also often make the Westend a place of boredom. There are only a few rooms, whether covered or outdoors, where people can meet. "No cinema, no disco, no McDonald ..." - these are frequent complaints from young people.

In the following I would like to use two case studies to present some empirical building blocks, under which conditions such as "ethnicity" is argued - or is not argued at the moment - and what effects this can have for those affected. A small one is included in this description Comparison of methods. These are interviews conducted in different ways. I would like to make it clear how certain forms of the ethnicity discourse can be spun through the way people talk to one another - scientifically controlled interviews are no exception in comparison to everyday conversations or communication situations Such a project is also part of everyday practical life and is no exception - just as any type of educational intervention is not a laboratory experiment, but is part of everyday practical life and also remains a carrier of discourses and their consequences.

Paul and Paula[Footnote 3: The names are fictitious.] are siblings. Both are from Somalia. Paul has lived in the West End for three years. Before that, he visited a Catholic children's home. He left the country a year before civil war broke out. The departure took place with the mother. The father also left when the civil war broke out, but went to America. As a result of differences of opinion between the parents regarding the migration destination, they separated. An uncle has lived in Munich for twenty years. Paul's family lived outside the capital there. A grandfather still lives in the north of the country. Paul is in the ninth grade of the secondary school in Westend. The mother is a waitress. The family's residence permits are limited in time.

Paula came to Germany when she was four. After a year with the single mother, she is housed in a Catholic children's home for six years, as is her brother. Paula is attending the Westend secondary school today. The parents owned a house in Africa. They got divorced, the father lives in America. The mother lived first "From the social welfare office", before she could afford her own apartment. After the circumstances were in order, "Were allowed" to Then move the children back out of the home to their mother. Paula reports about a "stepfather" (whom she may just call that) who is not mentioned by Paul. The mother, described as extremely helpful, has temporarily taken an Ethiopian acquaintance from Italy into her apartment.

We conducted a guided interview with Paul in March 1997. For most of the interview, Paul focused on his black skin color. He took the course of the conversation largely into his own hands. Four months later we conducted a biographical interview with Paula. The interviews with the two siblings almost demand a comparison of methods, as we are concerned with the specific contexts in which ethnicization occurs or does not occur, is challenged or used in a targeted manner. The interview itself can be viewed as a situation in which, in principle, both instances - on the part of the interviewee as well as on the part of the interviewer - can make ethnic issues a topic directly or indirectly, be it through direct questions, through unsolicited information behavior or through Reactions to supposed or actual non-verbal interaction behavior between those involved. Paul and Paula were aware that we are social scientists who are "interested in young people in the Westend, how they live and what they think". This formulation was intended to prevent the interviewees from developing a frame of reference in advance that would guide the interview process then one-sidedly influenced or pre-structured the content.



First, I compare the interview opening to check which frame of reference is opened, or how the first contact between interviewees and interviewers is structured:


Paul was initially asked: "How long have you been in the Westend?" A temporal and a spatial dimension are hereby addressed. On the one hand, it is signaled - what the interviewee already knew from the preliminary discussions with us - that we are interested in his living environment and his living environment. On the other hand, the way in which the period of time is asked is deliberately kept ambivalent. Paul can refer to this question as an allusion to his "different appearance". However, the nature of the question does not force Paul to this interpretation. After all, he could simply answer "always" - but he could also refer to an internal German or even give an inner-city move. All in all, the question seems to leave the interviewee a relatively large amount of leeway in which direction the answer is given. Paul also takes advantage of this leeway by providing the briefest possible information: "Yes I am for three years now ... ". Paul refrains from defining the context of the question himself. Although it gives a precise answer to the question, it does not indicate any biographical context to which the time specification could apply. After no further information is given, we will ask: "Three years - and where did you live before? those three years ago?"The inquiry again points to the spatial dimension of the initial question, which has already been thematized. Again, the possibly underlying research interest remains in the balance. It must have become clearer to Paul that we are concerned with his biography. However, he can still decide among which Sign he would like to tell of his biography. Paul now provides two pieces of information: "Yes, The three years ago, I was in a - ts - (') children's home because we are first flown here from Somalia. " Two important things have happened here. The first part of the answer shows that up to now Paul either did not have his migration story "in mind" and did not assume that we were aiming at it, or that Paul may have tried not to address this aspect of his biography for as long as possible Paul stated his origin "Somalia" at this point without being asked and initially without any illustrative indication of context. Neither the flight nor the circumstances that led to it are explained in more detail, only a flight from Somalia is mentioned. On the one hand, this can mean that Paul has this context - in comparison to the present in the Westend, or to the time in the children's home -

is not that important. But it can also mean that he does not want to address the details of his departure from Somalia. Finally, one could also put forward the thesis that to a certain extent he assumes that we are informed about his "fate".

The further progress of the interview is revealing. Paul is now changing his perspective. He no longer reports about himself and his biography, but about that of his mother, “And ... in the beginning it was for mine Mother difficult, everything still language and ... ". Paul does not pursue his biography in retrospect, but defines a "beginning" - the beginning in Germany, which he does not speak of from his personal point of view. He does not speak of his difficulties, but of those of his mother. We notice this change of perspective and try to correct it directive. At this point we fall into the "ethnicization trap": "You couldn't you speak German either? "- This rhetorical question now signals very clearly that we see Paul as a non-German, we also look at him from a clear deficit perspective. Wouldn't one have had to and could not have insisted neutrally at this point, for example following the pattern: "How have you been during this time?"

In summary, this introduction to the interview shows the following: First of all, it is possible to keep the situation open and to not provide Paul with a clear frame of reference that we offer. Paul takes advantage of this openness by giving very dosed information (brief and step-by-step answers), not addressing the phase of life before his arrival in Germany if possible and also taking the opportunity to generally distract from himself. This is done by mentioning his mother, who seems to be an important caregiver. After a short time an interim question from our side makes it clear that we have "recognized" that Paul (at least linguistically) is a "stranger". Paul, in turn, anticipates this projection when he pretends to be aware that he comes from Somalia. This more detailed analysis of a short interview passage shows how strongly the unintentional reference to ethnicity subliminally influences the communication situation "interview".


A biographical interview was conducted with Paula. The theoretical guiding principle of this type of interviewing is orientation on the relevant

vanzsystem the interlocutor. First of all, it is a matter of motivating the interlocutor to tell longer stories of stories they have personally experienced. This is attempted by means of a brief, as general as possible opening question, which should contain the least possible amount of content-related topic specifications.

The initial question was: “We are interested in young people, that is, how they grow up today and what they experience. Tell me yours Life story, everything you can think of, what you remember. " In the initial question, content-related information or impulses that go beyond the explanation of the interest in the individual biography were deliberately avoided.The interviewer should not pay specific attention to gender, origin, status or skin color, etc. The choice of the terms “growing up” and “experiencing” should encourage the narration, the order of the narration - whether chronological or associative - should be left to the interviewee.

The introductory narrative is short - and yet, compared to the dosed bits of information that Paul initially gave us, it should be seen as a self-contained passage that can later be subjected to a sequential analysis:

"Um - I came to Germany when I was four, I can actually do myself reminiscent of Somalia only faintly. And then I was in the home for six years - um - then: then: ... I am: from = um = na = after six years I am uh came out of the home, I came in when I was five and then: ... uh = then: so i came here, and then sinn ma moved, there my mother found an apartment and all that, and then: ... um, yes then I am stop here = I'm going to school here and so on. "(pause)

It is noticeable that Paula does not tell the story chronologically, but begins with a biographical turning point in her life, probably from her point of view, with her arrival in Germany. The selection of this episode from the spectrum of the biographical events asked undoubtedly indicates their subjective biographical significance. It does not represent a comprehensible reaction to the interviewer behavior, even if it cannot be ruled out that Paula assumes that we, as "white" scientists who are expressly interested in their biography, are closely involved

have particular interest in this episode. In the second sentence Paula refers to her origin. She, too, mentions Somalia very casually, as if it ought to be clear to us that she comes from there. Paula also "came" to Germany - just as Paul "flew" - neither were "fled", "emigrated" or "expelled". In contrast to Paul, Paula explicitly states that she can give little information about Somalia. Whether this is the case because, due to her age, she actually cannot remember the time before her arrival in Germany, or whether she does not want to, must remain open at this point.

At the end of Paula's opening story, the same thematic spectrum as in Paul's is expanded. However, up to this point there was no verbal interviewer intervention. Paula's story is far more self-determined than Paul's. In addition, we at Paula have the chance to ask about Somalia without a verbal signal from our side pointing towards our actual interest in knowledge. In this case, we can respond to a narrative offer from the interviewee. With Paul, on the other hand, a communication sequence arose within which a high degree of mutual "information" was exchanged regarding existing, anticipated or assumed images. The attention of the analysis must shift from the analysis of the interviewee's statements to the analysis of the interview situation.



Paula's central experience, which runs through her stories like a red thread, is that of physical violence. Paulas' central theme in connection with the home is not ethnic discrimination or negative experiences in connection with her skin color, her gradually developing language skills or her foreign origin (as is the case with her brother). The formative experiences consisted rather in the experience of physical violence on the part of the adults against their own kind, i.e. against the children. The reasons for the draconian educational measures described are not in any kind of "ethnic" context: it is about refusal to eat, about "cheeky" statements, about behavior in relation to medical orders, about behavior in the course of homework supervision, etc.

Paula starts talking about her own role and the relationships with the other children in the home. She admits aggression, at least in one case. She was made angry and annoyed. In this narrative episode, too, ethnic aspects do not play a role, but rather an age-appropriate relationship problem among girls: "I always have all girlfriends taken away ". If one assumes that the narrated episodes are paradigmatic for the experiences in the home and that the structure they express is typical for Paula, one arrives at the conclusion that skin color, origin and status as a child of a single asylum seeker in Paulas' experience There weren't any problems worth mentioning in the home during the first few years.

This is where the interview differs from the statements made by her brother. Despite the many narrative passages that repeatedly revolve around conflicts between the young people and the way these conflicts are carried out, Paula never even hinted at ethnic discrimination. It is always about age-typical arguments - for example the provocative accusation that a girl is no longer a virgin, etc.

Paul, on the other hand, has the experience that in the event of a conflict - regardless of the cause - his skin color is always the point. Through this reduction to a physically inalienable characteristic, he sees himself deprived of any possibility to defend himself against the attacks. From the fact that non-German white children find it much easier to hide their "foreignness" if necessary, he finds that these techniques of information control are in principle denied to him solely because of his skin color (cf. Goffmann, 1979, p. 116ff .) - as long as "being black" is considered a discredited feature.

But, according to Paul, it is not only the better adaptability "ability" of non-German whites that distinguishes him as a black person from them. Although for Paul they are "all in the same boat", he experiences that "being a foreigner." "Taken in and of itself it is by no means a resource when it comes to saving one's skin.

“Yes, uh, if you can say that, they sang like that, the German children, they weren't as spirited as, I'll say, like the foreign children ... here and ... what really It's actually strange, although here (in the Westend - author's note) almost all are foreigners (laughs), when it comes to arguments,

then, then - um - maybe I would tell a white foreigner that he insults my skin color just as much as a German, I mean, it is, if so, I am neither in his country nor, I mean with, with, me, at the beginning, with Germans, there, maybe, maybe, maybe a little understanding, but that was kind of weird (...) I had most of the arguments ever more with foreigners than with Germans (...) they make exactly the same mistake, they don't want to be excluded themselves, but they do exactly the same ".

Such racist experiences have consequences: His "real" friends are black and come from his home country. In the Westend itself, only Paul's family comes from there.

Paul is not socially isolated. He also has "friends" at school and is also with "whites" - he especially mentions the physical education classes, "... they come from Russia, the Czech Republic and Albania". But these contacts are not very close. To "direct" ones. Paul makes a clear difference to friends. For example, there are no reciprocal visits at home between him and his "white" acquaintances.

Paul describes both the racist behavior of the whites as well as his own feelings, which - in the sense of a self-fulfilling prophecy - ultimately leads to the fact that he himself has the feeling that he cannot come to a common denominator with them. His description clarifies the manufacturing and development process of this relationship between black and white. He thinks of a boy who, as a half-breed, has contacts with German young people. In view of such experiences of successful contacts between "black" and "white" he doubts the explanatory power of the skin color and looks for the "fault" in himself. In addition, these self-doubts are nourished by the fact that his sister, like some black and white people he knows, Africans, even have a lot of friendships with "whites". As much as he quarrels that he does not succeed in doing this himself, he points out the price these blacks have to pay. In order to be able to maintain these friendships at all, they are forced to endure the constant discussion of their skin color - be it serious or about jokes: "... how they talk to them ...".



Paula does not report any "ethnic pick-up" or allusions to her skin color or her origin. Why is this so completely different in her brother's interview, in which this topic runs like a red thread? Is this fact a methodical artifact, or will it be Situation really experienced so differently between the siblings? Is Paul's assumption correct that the problem of skin color means something completely different for boys and girls? Paul also makes the statement that his sister can deal with her skin color very differently because she is completely on her it reacts differently to how it reacts to him.

Paul was confronted with this question directly and immediately.

Answer: "Oh well. my sister has, uh, better said, more adapted instead of like me."This" adaptation "gives her an advantage that she sometimes seems to envy Paul for. After all, this adjustment means that she seems to get on better with her people than he does with his. Nevertheless, he describes this difference with an expression that can also be interpreted as meant negatively. "Adaptation" is to be seen as ambivalent in this context. It is a term that he is sure to be familiar with from the German public, in the sense of an expectation that one expects of "foreign asylum seekers" - they have themselves Kindly adjust when they're here. The word "adaptation" also contains an element of self-abandonment - Paul does not mention the "price" of adaptation, but it resonates subtly.

“I don't know, it's all always (laughs) w, w, when I, when I'm with Girl am friends, then it is, then I don't believe that she: uh, that they make friends with me, only if they do something against my skin color now If so, she'd rather avoid me (laughs), but both Guys, that's the way it is when they are now, when they are now against my skin color has, then it doesn't go out, out of my way, because it goes straight out, up to me, to me and = and ... and with the girls it's easy to remember whether she ... is interested or not. "

Paul knows: when a girl approaches him, she is indifferent or positive about his skin color, otherwise she would not be interested in him at all. With boys, however, caution is advised. you "Must strength

ke prove ". Paul's attitude to this issue is ambivalent. He sees the obvious difference between himself and his sister and attributes much of it to the difference between the sexes. At the same time, however, he also emphasizes differences between himself and his sister in terms of their own behavior towards "whites". Here Paul vacillates between admiration and rejection of his sister. On the one hand, he is dissatisfied and frustrated with himself and his tendencies to withdraw, on the other hand, he also seems happy about not having to be as adaptable as his sister.



Both Paula and Paul only marginally address their country of origin. Both have few memories of the time before they left, which may be partly due to their age at the time. Both siblings only come to a more detailed passage about Somalia in their lives towards the end of their respective interviews. While Paul has a concrete memory and starts a short story, Paula can only tell of one experience in Germany. She tells of a torture video documentary about Somalia, which she once secretly saw through the living room door and uses this detour to convey her emotions that connect her to "her" country - a formula that both siblings use. Paula's story comes from the question whether she could imagine living in Somalia again is evoked. It is not interrupted by any intervening questions. Paul's narrative is also not interrupted by the interviewer, but it is placed in an entirely different context. It was preceded by a question, the explicitly aimed at the meaning of skin color and Paul's attitude towards it: “For some, the color of the skin is somehow: it seems something incredibly important or you imagine it is something important uh: mm is it the same for you, or can you actually just laugh about it or yourself annoyed that there is such a thing, that the skin color is so = so incredibly important is taken?" The subject area of ​​the answer is thus determined by the type of question. The fact that Paul gives the answer indirectly, almost like a simile of his own childhood and his country of origin, could not be foreseen from the question posed. After all of his reports and narratives of racial discrimination that he

Because of his skin color is constantly exposed in everyday life, which he ultimately cannot explain and to which he reacts partly with withdrawal, partly with self-guilt, he sees himself addressed by the above question, how he sees his skin color as a bearer of meaning. Paul doesn't answer morally now. He does not paint the picture of a future-oriented utopian multicultural society that he would like. According to the basic tenor of his presentation in the interview, such a reaction to the above question might have been obvious. However, Paul takes a different direction. He tries to go back to his childhood - because there he finds a parallel in his own life and his own behavior. At the age of six - that must have been very shortly before leaving the country, "There the Italian lived there". He adds: “Somalia used to be an Italian colony. " Apparently, Italians were so present in Paul's environment at this time that he had the opportunity to come into contact with them. "There were a lot of Italians and Italians lived there, Italian family and there were children, they have everything possible about the house tells what's going on that des, that des Barbarians and all sorts of things, and insult."There were rumors between the Italians present - who apparently also had a social function, as Paul remembers entire families - and the native Somali. It remains completely in the balance in Paul's story, from which side the rumors were fueled against It is not made clear who "they" are and which house is being talked about, who is meant by "barbarians" and who was insulted. In this respect, it is not clear afterwards whether the act described, at which Paul was present, represents a reaction to insults by the former Italian colonialists against the local population, or whether it represents the childlike translation of Somali reservations against the former colonial power: " then we are, I was there, we are with you, your house, ham stones and thrown against her door ". Although Paul - apart from his personal involvement in the crime - unconsciously leaves all actors and the circumstances that led to the crime in the dark, he makes the following clear: At that time in Somalia he belonged to the majority society - the foreigners were the others Italian. This is what matters to him. He is not interested in portraying a historically burdened relationship, portraying power imbalances or moral legitimacy.

timing or explanation strategies. It is all about the difference between nationals and foreigners, between majority and minority members: “And I must, I laughed at the time and (laughs) well, it is, it is, it was exactly the same ... just with, just with this difference, that, that I am the foreigner and not the (...) if jetzat = if jetzat = if now everyone in one area were black and one a white man to me, offended me, offended about my skin color, then would I just laugh, there are thousands here and he can give a damn because, but here it is. " The argument "skin color" only stands out as long as it can be enforced as an effective argument - for example, if it is used or supported by the majority. It is therefore interchangeable as such.It would become irrelevant and downright ridiculous in an inverted social context where blacks outnumber them. Paul realizes that it is not the color of his skin that puts him in his difficult position. It is the social conditions that allow the white majority to effectively declare skin color to be a criterion for difference. And Paul goes one step further and reverses the situation. Conversely, he himself - as evidenced by a specifically narrated example - would not behave any differently, he would then only be in the privileged position for his part. He discovers a general pattern of human behavior and abstracts it from the concrete historical and situational context.

Completely different from the way his sister defends herself against perceived insults or threats. In the final section of the interview, she reacts immediately to the question of whether she could imagine living in Somalia again. She does not project herself into a situation, an experience or an experience that is related to her country of origin, but reflects the situation from the outside: "Mhm (thinking) there is war now!" Well I don't think so, well me I would like to now, so I like Germany a lot (cup falls over), so (laughs, picks up the cup again), so I like Germany very much now, So I grew up here too and all that. " Paula is torn. Given the war situation, she doesn't think she would like to live in Somalia. Somalia, however, appears to be emotionally charged nonetheless. Her rational weighing is interrupted by a sentence that has not been completed, which would have said what she "would like to do now." She seems to have this thought - which possibly meant that she was actually

Would like to be at home now, if only it weren't for the war - but not to be allowed. Rather, she abruptly breaks it off and brings a formulaic judgment about Germany, which seems more as if she wants to live up to an expectation that she has imputed to us. In addition, this is supported by the deliberate verbatim repetition. The fallen cup indicates the physical tension that apparently accompanies these reflections. Her praise for Germany is, however, relativized by the insert "now". This may be a small but fine indication that it was by no means always the case that she liked it in Germany, an indication of problems she may have experienced she didn't report anything in the interview. Paula gets her emotions under control again, she makes a rational argument, namely that she grew up here. This at the same time as an "explanation" and "justification" for her overall positive assessment of her stay in Germany She now makes a final judgment in this process of weighing up, initially hesitant, almost shocked by the undertone of finality that resonates in it, then confirming once more (not least to herself): "So. I don't think so ... A = well pfft ... but once, I swear, no, actually I would not like to follow Go to Somalia. " So far, a feeling of emotional attraction has clearly stood in the way of rational considerations. What now follows is a detailed narrative, which has the function of combating your possibly existing positive emotions by visualizing negative experiences and experiences. At various points she is overwhelmed by her own narrative and the cruelty described. The narrative of the torture documentation culminates in the conclusion: “And there's something like that in Somalia! I thought it wasn't my country: I = I know my country, but so, uh: (rejecting like yuck), I don't want to be a Somali at all, if that's the case = when they do something like that. That's the end: stupid (...) Yes: I thought they were nice: and so, like here and so and = and by des, we have in the Used to be in the city and so, I thought, well I have so few memories that were so normal, so beautiful and so. And yet not so crazy, I knew not that they do that. Such a dish, it's really like in Middle Ages." For Paula, the story created the prerequisite for being able to distance herself completely from her country of origin. She is no longer torn, you

The position is now clear. In this context it can be seen that the appeal to ethnic arguments seems alien to Paula. Even if she does not know the background to the making of the video and has little information about the political context of the current situation in Somalia, it would be obvious to draw a distinction between the perpetrators appearing in the video and her own person, for example after Pattern that these must be hostile clans, political groups, etc. Instead, their reaction is limited to self-distancing from their compatriots.

When asked to tell something about her family, Paula just gushes out. At first, Paula involuntarily expresses clearly indirectly what her relationship is to her parents: "I only have a mother". The father is not only spatially absent in this statement, he is simply non-existent. This comes from her lips without a trace of regret. On the contrary, the drastic formulation serves to "speak strongly" to her mother: “But she's strong, so I think, because she's been through everything, so she has us, we really have it, so so = uh, she's been working now, now she's working again (,) and so, we ham uh = uh, she has uh = uh ... so she wo = s = uh she just worked and so and only that we just got out of the home she has everything (...) that we come out of the home and so ... and then we are we came out of the home ". The mother - because of the children - has taken on the role of the father. The mother is idealized, she is certified that she has gone through (the unspecified) "everything" - can mean: civil war experiences, the organization of migration, the divorce, the upbringing of the children under particularly difficult conditions, the cohesion of the family. Nothing of the kind is attested to the father. While the biological father is hushed up, Paula gives a detailed account of her so-called "stepfather". He appears in an exclusively negative light. The stepfather has an alcohol problem and uses her mother's willingness to help financially - violence is at least threatened - whether it is used remains open. Paulas' mother succeeds - together with her children, where Paula herself apparently takes the more active role despite her age - with the help of the police and decisive action and despite the emotional entanglements granted to the mother - to solve the problem by having the stepfather "in the Desert is sent ". The stepfather is referred to as an" Ethiopian "- which is why one is only with him

Could speak Arabic or German, not Somali. This information is only provided to clarify the narrative situation and is not associated with any evaluation - which is remarkable in that an "ethnic" evaluation would be very obvious: not only have decades of armed conflict between Somalia and Ethiopia shaped the history of both peoples - also make an effort Otherwise Paula does her best to let her stepfather appear in a negative light: he is potentially violent, financially dependent, lazy, tends to be criminal, etc. Nevertheless, she does not play the "ethnic" card! Is "ethnicity" not a system of order for Paula? Why is she obviously not hoping to make the origin of the stepfather a criterion for difference that marks devaluation and distance? Does she possibly assume that such an argument "is of no use" to white interviewers , since from the point of view of the "whites" all "blacks" are the same - so the "big difference" between Somalis and Ethiopians cannot be made white to them at all?



The different methodological approaches triggered different connotations in the respondents. In the center of one biography was the subject of "experience of violence", in the center of the other "skin color". In addition, respondents and interviewers have mutually different expectations regarding the existing reference systems.

However, this should not be interpreted exclusively in terms of methodology, rather the interview processes correspond to everyday experiences that many of our respondents reported: namely that they are often viewed or addressed from the perspective of their "ethnicity" - German young people in their capacity as "experts" in multicultural milieus , the migrant youth as migration experts and representatives of their cultures of origin.

As a result, the interviews take completely different courses, but one should not conclude that this is solely due to the different types of survey, because there are references in the interviews to specific experiences and behaviors of each.

temporary sibling. The interviews can also show that very similar biographies can lead to very different experiences with characteristics of origin. We can show that these experiences differ for example in terms of gender. We can also show that those affected draw completely different conclusions from being referred to ethnicity and that they deal with ethnicity - i.e. their origin, their skin color - in completely different ways.



Dannenbeck, Clemens / Esser, Felicitas / Lösch, Hans (1997): Young people in ethnically heterogeneous milieus. The development of multicultural worlds as an everyday process. DJI working paper 3-131, Munich

Goffman, Erving (1979): Stigma. On techniques for coping with damaged identity, Frankfurt / M.


© Friedrich Ebert Foundation | technical support | net edition fes-library | October 2000