The integration of immigrants into a larger society begins at the local level. Turkish Berlin reveals how integration has been experienced by second-generation Turkish immigrant women in two neighborhoods in Berlin, Germany. While the neighborhoods are similar demographically, the lived experience of the residents is surprisingly different. Informed by first-person interviews with both public officials and immigrants, Annika Marlen Hinze makes clear that local integration policiesâ€”often created by officials who have little or no contact with immigrantsâ€”have significant effects on the assimilation of outsiders into a community and a society. Focusing on the Turkish neighborhoods of Kreuzberg and NeukÃ¶lln, Hinze shows how a combination of local policy making and grassroots organizing have contributed to one neighborhood earning a reputation as a hip, multicultural success story and the other as a rougher neighborhood featuring problem schools and high rates of unemployment. Aided by her interviews, she describes how policy makers draw from their imaginations of urban space, immigrants, and integration to develop policies that do not always take social realities into consideration. She offers useful examples of how official policies can actually exacerbate the problems they are trying to help solve and demonstrates that a powerful history of grassroots organizing and resistance can have an equally strong impact on political outcomes. Employing spatial theory as a tool for understanding the complex processes of integration, Hinze asks two related questions: How do immigrants perceive themselves and their experiences in a new culture? And how are immigrants conceived of by politicians and policy makers? Although her research highlights the Germanâ€“Turk experience in Berlin, her answers have implications that resonate far beyond the cityâ€™s limits.
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