Youth

    Come, Stay, And Change

    Mustafa Ja'Far: O, You are the whole of my entire being
    From the Word into Art exhibition, British Museum, London
    How do children and young people come to terms with their status as migrants? What problems do they have, how do they resolve them, and what subcultures are established as a result?

    Although children are often the first victims of migration, they are often a driving force as far as integration is concerned.

    Discussion about migrants is subject to changing political and social trends in Germany. Guest worker, foreigner, non-German or migrant are terms used to describe protagonists on the periphery of society. Status and origin are merged in the description guest worker: seen from this perspective, the guest is always a foreigner. The status of foreignness is passed on to the children of the so-called guest workers, children who themselves have grown up in Germany. This attribution goes hand-in-hand with a specific localisation in legal terms which simultaneously re-establishes both what belongs and what is foreign.

    However, in Germany these ways of life are both heterogeneous and extremely different in their everyday practice. The dichotomy of the terms German and migrant do not do justice to this reality. In their observation of minority groups, specialist theoreticians of contemporary culture such as Stuart Hall concentrate on precisely the aspect of hybridity. Cultural anthropologists regard the formation of identities as a highly dynamic process. The cultural anthropologist Ina M. Greverus speaks of it symbolically as a collage. Terms are always part of society’s process of negotiation, in which self-image and the images of others are constructed and divisions exposed. In order to examine them and trace their logic, this article too falls back on using terms it would actually be better to dissolve.

    Download SymbolMurat Güngör: Come, Stay, and Change (pdf, 24 KB)

    Murat Güngör works as a musician, rapper and DJ. He studied cultural anthropology and sociology in Frankfurt. He is a co-founder of the group Kanak Attak.

    Translation: Charlotte Collins

    January 2007

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