Is Australia multicultural and diverse like the USA




PARTIAL DOCUMENT:






Since the beginning of the 1980s, the concept of multicultural society has increasingly become the subject of scientific and political discussions in the Federal Republic as well as in other Western countries (Leggewie 1990; Schulte 1990a; Miksch 1991). The aim of the following considerations is to present the content and functions of this ambiguous term, to explain controversial views and the author's position in more detail, to provide information on questions that have so far only been partially resolved and to make an overall assessment. Above all, the explanations are intended to provide an overview of the current state of the socio-scientific and socio-political discussion and to encourage you to make your own assessment. In the presentation, the conceptual basis, social background and the subject of the discussion about the multicultural society are first dealt with. Subsequently, the main features and problems of controversial positions are shown, first of those positions that - in a spontaneous or organized form - see and reject a multicultural society as a threat, then those who see and support it as an opportunity. In the last-named positions, a distinction is made between perspectives that have ideological elements and concepts that seek to ground multiculturalism with a critical-emancipatory intention. Then two central problems with which multiculturalism is confronted are discussed, on the one hand the problem of the political integration of cultural diversity, on the other hand the problem of the political control of current and future (im-) migration processes. In the concluding remarks, multiculturalism is assessed in summary and the prerequisites that are necessary for a constructive solution or alleviation of the problems of a multicultural society are pointed out.



The term "multicultural society" or "multiculturalism" refers to a society that is ideally characterized by ethnic and cultural diversity (Maffioletti 1987). Ethnic groups are sub-populations of total societies constituted by the state, which are characterized by ideas of common origin, a sense of belonging, commonalities in culture and language, a collective identity based on their own ascriptions and those of others, and are linked by common institutions and systems of relationships (Heckmann 1988) . In this context, the term culture is generally understood in a broad sense, as (everyday) living environment or orientation system:

"Culture has a special history and its processing, values ​​that one strives to realize in life and that can be concretized in family, language, religion, food and many other things. Culture is a total of language, interpretation of the world, life in this world, behavior towards others and self-image. " (Nitzschke 1982a, p. 5).

The statements on ethnic-cultural diversity contained in the conceptions of multiculturalism are usually both descriptive-analytical and normative in character. On the one hand, this diversity is seen as a social fact. It is assumed here that it is not a static but a historical-dynamic phenomenon, i.e. a process with dimensions of the past, present and future. In addition, this diversity is seen as positive in principle, namely as 'legitimate' or as an opportunity, or viewed as a 'goal' that has yet to be realized. Because of this orientation, multiculturalism - similar to pluralism - stands in opposition to theories, conceptions and ideas that see society as a homogeneous, uniform or monolithic structure and accordingly assess socio-political or socio-cultural heterogeneity as a threat or danger.

The central background of the discussions about a multicultural society are international migration processes; this includes processes in particular

labor migration, refugee movements and migrations from former colonies to the respective mother countries. A special feature of such migration movements related to the Federal Republic of Germany is the immigration of ethnic German repatriates. Processes of international migration are caused by a large number of push and pull factors, but especially by relationships of structural and direct violence at the national and / or international level . Because of these conditions, the living situation and prospects of migrants are usually characterized to a particular degree by dependencies and insecurities (Favero 1987).

In ideas of a multicultural society, these migration processes are primarily thematized from the point of view of the western host or immigration countries; These include the classic immigration countries (especially the USA, Canada and Australia), the developed countries of Northern and Western Europe, which at least de facto developed into immigration countries after the Second World War, and which are also a center of attraction for the new East-West and South-North - represent migrations, and the Mediterranean countries belonging to the EC (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece), which were classic emigration countries until the 1970s, but since the early 1980s have increasingly become destination countries for newer migration processes, mainly from third-party countries World, have become.

In the Western European countries, to which the following statements refer particularly, the immigration processes have led to a social and cultural change. The development of the economic "guest worker question" to the structural "minority question" (Heckmann 1988) is of particular importance. This implies the fact that population groups have emerged in the receiving countries who are no longer only temporarily but permanently present, whose social situation is usually characterized by social inequalities and discrimination and "which in comparison to the autochthonous populations and migration flows of the past hundred years, are carriers of differing ethnic, linguistic and cultural identities. " (Perotti 1989, p.536).

The main question of the controversy about the multicultural society is how this social and cultural change is interpreted and how it affects it

a socio-political or educational response is to be made (Maffioletti 1987). Two sub-questions or problems can be distinguished: 1. How should the coexistence of the native majority and minorities who have already immigrated be shaped? (Problem of the "integration" of the immigrant minorities); 2. How should new (immigration) migrations be influenced? (Problem of the 'control' of international migration processes).

There are controversial answers to these questions, which are also expressed in positions contrary to a multicultural society. It cannot therefore be assumed without further ado that "multicultural society" in Western societies represents the "social design of the 90s" (Radtke 1990b).



From positions that can be assigned to a more “right-wing” political spectrum, a multicultural society is usually rated as a “danger” or “threat” and is therefore rejected (Schulte 1990a, p. 6ff.). Similar to anti-Semitism (Fetscher 1965), a fundamental distinction can be made here between "spontaneous" resistance on the one hand and "programmatic" and "organized" forms of rejection on the other.


"Spontaneous" forms of rejection of a multicultural society are expressed in the distant, negative or aggressive attitudes and attitudes of groups of the "native" population towards (certain) "foreigners". These phenomena have increased in number and importance in Western European countries in recent years (EC Commission 1989); In the second half of 1991 there was an even more massive escalation in the "hunt for foreigners" (stern no. 41 of October 2, 1991) and "violence against strangers" (Der Spiegel no. 40 of September 30, 1991 ). Social fears (well founded or unfounded) are of central importance for the emergence and development of these movements.

These are, however, neither biological nor anthropological constants, but historical and social phenomena. Nor are their causes primarily to be found in the number or in (assumed or actual) properties and characteristics of the 'strangers' against whom these attitudes are directed. These fears and attitudes are essentially caused by social structures and mechanisms that (real or supposed) have unsettling or negative effects on individuals and social groups. These include, in particular, the intensifying mechanisms of competition on the housing and labor market, the tendency towards individualization, the lack of social infrastructures and networking in the residential and leisure sector, as well as insufficient opportunities for active design in various areas of life.

These experienced or feared problems are dealt with in a specific way by those affected; The fact that the majority of those affected have few opportunities to explain the cause of the problems and to contribute to their solution promotes in turn tendencies to exonerate themselves by identifying alleged culprits and by exercising latent and / or manifest violence to gain feelings of orientation, communalization, the ability to act, superiority and self-confidence towards these, usually socially weaker people (Memmi 1987).

This "racism of the ruled" (Memmi 1987) is not just spontaneous, but is to a large extent (also) 'produced'. In this regard, deficits in democratic political culture are of particular importance in Germany, which in turn are closely related to the "second guilt of the Germans" (Giordano 1990), i.e. the inadequate coming to terms with the National Socialist past and crimes. In addition, the various manifestations of programmatic and organized anti-multiculturalism as well as institutionalized discrimination against immigrant minorities play a central role in this regard.


The programmatically developed and politically organized forms of rejection of a multicultural society represent the actual anti-multiculturalism. This is usually based on perspectives that - from a critical point of view - are described as nationalistic, ethnocentric, right-wing extremist and / or (culturally) racist can. An example of such tendencies related to the Federal Republic are the formulations of the "Heidelberg Manifesto", which was put into circulation by professors in 1982. In this, the process of immigration is rated as "infiltration of the German people through the influx of millions of foreigners and their families" and as "infiltration of our language, our culture and our nationality"; Accordingly, the "integration of large masses of non-German foreigners" is seen as incompatible with the "preservation of the German people and their spiritual identity on the basis of our Christian occidental heritage" and is described as a step "towards the well-known ethnic catastrophes of multicultural society" (Heidelberg Manifesto. Signatories Version, Frankfurter Rundschau, March 4th, 1982). Similar perspectives can be found in the "discourse of racism in the media and in general consciousness", which was organized in earlier years (Thränhardt 1989), but now to a greater extent, against the "problem of foreigners" and / or against the "flood of asylum seekers" campaign-like form is operated (Gerhard 1991).

These and similar views of programmatic and organized anti-multiculturalism are usually determined by the assumption that

  • People, culture and identity are homogeneous structures,
  • there are fundamental contradictions between one's own people and their culture on the one hand and 'foreign' peoples and cultures on the other,
  • the exclusion of the heterogeneous is necessary if social peace, one's own identity and social integration are to be secured, and
  • the peoples or cultures are unequal, whereby what is "own" is considered to be of higher value, and what is foreign is considered to be inferior.

The negative to hostile attitudes associated with these perspectives towards a multicultural society can be of a generalized or partial or selective nature. (Culture) racist views are usually associated with a blanket rejection. It is characteristic of such perspectives that actual or fictitious differences of a biological or cultural nature are generalized, absolutized and functionalized for purposes of rule: with regard to the victims, it is about the justification of discrimination, devaluation and dehumanization, on the part of the prosecutor about legitimation of privileges and aggression, the safeguarding of friend-foe regulations, the distraction from the actual causes of unsolved social problems and the production of (ideological) communalization (Memmi 1987).

Positions that are conservative or nationally oriented tend to aim at a selective or partial rejection of multiculturalism. This is expressed in a contradicting conception of integration vis-à-vis the immigrant population groups: on the one hand, integration offers are made to the foreigners, but at the same time the measures aimed at integration are accompanied by tendencies towards restriction, assimilation, selection and segregation vis-à-vis the immigrant population groups (Schulte 1992a ). Accordingly, although they are allowed to preserve their cultural identity in the host country, their development is restricted to the individual or private sphere (Schiffer 1991). Multiculturalism is allowed either only in a residual form or only temporarily, as a temporary transition to final and complete integration (Smolicz 1988), whereby the realization of this objective is in turn made dependent on various adaptation and integration efforts on the part of those affected. Demands aimed at giving immigrants more extensive opportunities for the development and development of their respective cultures and identities are interpreted as a development towards a "mosaic society"; this threatens the culture "close" and "native" to the Germans, endangers social peace and is not practicable (Schiffer 1991).

The spontaneous and organized forms of the right-wing rejection of a multicultural society are determined overall by tendencies, social and political problems - regardless of whether they are in the

Are or are not related to immigration processes - on the basis of and with the help of general or selective social discrimination against immigrants or those who are still immigrants. These tendencies, which are or can be primarily related to the interests of ruling groups, but also to those of ruled groups, are reinforced by the mechanisms of institutional discrimination against immigrant population groups. At the same time, the institutions and the dominant self-image of the immigration society (s) are relieved of the task of consciously and democratically coping with the social and cultural change that has already taken place or is still taking place in connection with immigration processes. Coping with this task is primarily seen as a matter for the affected individuals, in this case the (im-) migrants.




The spectrum of scientific, socio-political and educational positions that advocate a multicultural society and interpret it as an opportunity is relatively broad in Germany as well as in other countries, e.g. in Australia (Schulte 1990a, 5f .; Castles 1990). From a sociopolitical point of view, it ranges from the modernization wing of the CDU to liberals and social democrats to churches, trade unions, initiative groups and left-wing alternative groups. This indicates that an advocacy of multiculturalism is or can be associated with very different reasons, interests and objectives. Therefore, one can only speak of one or a uniform multiculturalism to a very limited extent. If the criteria for assessing the various positions are based on their respective expressive content and their respective function, one can distinguish between the positions in favor of a multicultural society, on the one hand, ideological and, on the other hand, critical-emancipatory characteristics.


From an ideology-critical point of view, ways of thinking can be described as ideological if they contain untrue, incomplete or half-true statements about reality and their function has a stabilizing and legitimizing effect on rule (Hofmann 1968). From this point of view, ideas of multicultural coexistence show ideological tendencies if they are dominated by the following points of view:

  • Overestimation of the importance of cultural factors and underestimation of structural and socio-political factors (Esser 1983b, p.178f.): Such perspectives are particularly expressed where the structural constraints, inequalities and dependencies that underlie international labor migration and the world refugee problem, such as is also abstracted from the negative consequences that the cultural enrichment of the receiving countries has for the respective countries of origin and accordingly migration processes are interpreted exclusively from a cultural point of view. Similar tendencies exist where the socio-economic prerequisites and the socio-political framework conditions in the respective immigration countries are not sufficiently taken into account and in this way the multitude of structural economic, social and political conditions and constraints to which immigrants are subject are lost from view . These perspectives favor a romanticization, idyllization and pedagogy of social conditions.
  • Shortening of culture (s) in general and of immigrant culture (s) in particular: This is particularly the case where culture (s) are primarily seen as static and homogeneous, ultimately ethnic-national structures. Multicultural society is understood here as an encounter between different, but homogeneous, national cultures supported by ethnic communities and closed. The historical-dynamic character of culture as well as the real differentiation and mixing processes between and within different cultures and the development of migrant

    overlooked cultures alongside and outside the cultures of the host countries and countries of origin. In addition, the social subjects and groups are subjected to the respective cultural groups to which they belong or are assigned, making it impossible for them to independently and actively deal with traditional cultural values ​​and institutions (Hoffmann 1990; Finkielkraut 1989). This in turn favors tendencies towards the "ethnicization and self-ethnicization of immigrants" (Radtke 1990a). Ideological abbreviations are also present where "folklore and foreign specialties" are considered the epitome of foreign cultures; This leads to the immigrants being degraded "to a cultural level of folklore, kofta, tzaziki and harem pants" and fixating them on an "exotic existence" (Klingeberg 1983).

  • Instrumentalization and functionalization of immigrants and their cultures for the interests of the host societies: In this respect, the instrumentalization of the concepts of a multicultural society for dominant interests in the immigration societies is of central importance. It has been pointed out that the concept of multiculturalism was developed in Australia in the 1970s as a new technique of crisis management, social control and pacification of the immigrant population groups, after the strategy of assimilation of the various immigrant groups to the Anglo-Saxon population that had prevailed up to that point that the hegemonic culture that was shaped by them was no longer effective (Geiger 1989, p.149ff.). Similar functionalizations are also found where multicultural society is only advocated in order to counter undesirable developments on the domestic labor market or in the demographic area (cf. certain modes of argument in Geißler 1990, p.179ff. And Tichy 1990, p.121ff.).

The ideological functionalizations of notions of a multicultural coexistence can also be related to the interests of individual social groups or strata. From the point of view of the urban middle and upper classes in particular, the multiculturalism associated with the presence of immigrants is above all a means of (one's own) cultural enrichment. From this point of view, immigrants and their cultures contribute in particular to deficits in our society compensate. you

thus function essentially as a means of "making our gray world more colorful", "helping our late culture on the jumps" and expanding the range of possibilities for consumption and enjoyment (Naumann 1990). Such ideological functionalizations of multiculturalism can also occur in left-alternative positions, namely where migrants and their cultures are instrumentalized as a means of "fighting against hegemonic cultures on a national and international level". They are expected to make contributions in the fight against the prevailing affirmative culture and for 'alternative' perspectives (Klingeberg 1983, p.109).


One can react differently to the fact that ideas that advocate a multicultural society contain or can contain ideological elements in diverse and different forms. If it is assumed that these are compulsory or integral components of multiculturalism, this must necessarily lead to a fundamental criticism of and a departure from this concept. Such conclusions are drawn, in particular, from positions that belong to the 'left' socio-political spectrum and refer to the universal values ​​of the Enlightenment and / or the standards of a "modern" society. They classify ideas of a multicultural society, for example, as "a multicultural nothing" and "farewell to integration on the basis of universalistic values" (Naumann 1990), as a "defeat of thought" (Finkielkraut 1989) or as a "regressive one" "or" social-technocratic "oriented social problem-solving strategy (Radtke 1990).

According to another, in my opinion more correct view, the identified ideological elements are not necessarily connected with multiculturalism. In order to avoid these shortenings, the concept of multiculturalism must, however, be substantiated and substantiated from a critical-emancipatory point of view.



Critical-emancipatory notions of a multicultural society can be understood as an attempt to answer the question of how a coexistence between the indigenous population and immigrant minorities should be organized, neither through social discrimination nor with the help of assimilation or segregation of these minorities: the immigrant minorities should have sufficient opportunities to maintain and develop their respective cultures, identities, relationships and associations, the locals and immigrants as well as their respective groups should be in (exchange) relationships with each other and these relationships should be fundamentally determined by the principle of equality (Miksch 1989; Schulte 1990). Multiculturalism should not only have a "transitory" or "residual" character, but should also be given a "stable" form (Smolicz 1988).


The following concepts, the central elements of which are outlined below, can contribute to the social science foundation of critical-emancipatory multiculturalism:

  • Concepts of pluralistic democracy:
    In contrast to concepts that see society as a homogeneous structure, pluralism emphasizes social and political heterogeneity, advocates it as "legitimate" and views it as a constituent feature of "Western democracies" (Fraenkel 1991). The development and integration of diversity should be achieved on the basis of the following principles:
    • Autonomy, fundamental equality, mutual tolerance and interaction of the different interests (groups);
    • Settling conflicts to the exclusion of violence, observing certain procedural rules and recognizing fundamental values ​​and with the help of mutual compromises;
    • The emergence of the "common good" or "new syntheses" as the result of the interplay of forces between different interests (groups) (Fraenkel 1991).

    These principles represent an essential basis for the development and integration of diversity not only in pluralistic, but also in multicultural societies (Maffioletti 1987). However, it must be taken into account that these are normative principles that have so far only been partially implemented. The background for the (still) limited or undeveloped character of pluralism are the "structural defects of western democracies" (Fraenkel 1991) and the "new old inequalities" existing in social reality (Franz et al. 1986).

  • Concepts of social inequality and social discrimination: The core of old and new social inequalities is "the unequal distribution of life risks and chances" (Franz et al. 1986). In Western societies, these inequalities have a wide variety of manifestations and are of a comprehensive nature. Certain social problem groups are affected by them to a special degree and permanently; these also include the immigrant minorities. Their disadvantages are usually not their own fault, but primarily produced by social structures and political processes in the countries of immigration. Phenomena and processes of social discrimination play a central role here, i.e. forms of structural and direct violence through which certain economic, social and participatory rights and opportunities are systematically withheld or taken away from members of certain social groups (Heckmann 1984, p.644).

In this respect, the institutional discrimination against immigrant minorities is important; this has found a special form in the federal foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Germany (Dohse 1981). In this respect, it is of central importance that foreigners are, on the one hand, residents due to their social situation, but on the other hand, because of their foreign nationality, "they lack civil rights and, moreover, they are subject to special norms under immigration law that differentiate and discriminate against citizens." (Rittstieg

1991, p.1). This institutionally anchored basic orientation has shaped the state policy on foreigners since the recruitment phase and has remained essentially unchanged up to the present day, albeit with individual modifications. This results in insecurities and disadvantages for immigrants that are massive and affect central areas of life, such as residence status, admission to the labor market, political participation, family reunification and cultural development. Institutional discrimination also includes the basic tendencies of the asylum policy pursued by the Federal Republic; Especially since the beginning of the 1980s, this has increasingly developed from a policy of protection to a policy of deterring the politically persecuted by restricting entry options for refugees, tightening the asylum procedure and the administrative deterioration of the situation of asylum seekers (Söllner 1986) .

The second form of social discrimination against immigrant minorities is represented by the various phenomena of everyday discrimination, xenophobia and "(cultural) racism", which have already been discussed in more detail in the context of the presentation of the negative positions on a multicultural society.

  • Concepts of "culture" and "identity": Societies that have a "multicultural" character contain encounters, debates and developments of different cultures and identities. As already indicated, the concept of culture in this context must be understood in a broad sense, as a lifeworld or an orientation system. Identity includes the perception that individuals have of themselves and their existence as persons in relation to other persons with whom they form a group or groups (Cavallaro 1984, p. 117; Schmieder 1984). Culture and identity are (unfinished) processes that are socially connected, contain contradicting elements and are open to active debate (Kalpaka / Räthzel 1986, p.65). Based on this point of view, the "pluralization of culture" (Hettlage 1984) that accompanies a multicultural society means, on the one hand, a questioning of traditional identities and, on the other hand, a challenge to develop new identities for both locals and immigrants. At

    For immigrants, a distinction must be made between "cultures of origin" on the one hand and "migrant cultures" or "intermediate worlds" on the other (Hettlage-Varjas / Hettlage 1984).


The socio-political concretization of multiculturalism aims to enable the emancipation of the immigrant minorities and to promote processes of democratization in the political, social and cultural area.

The legal framework for measures aimed at this in the Federal Republic are in particular the principle of human dignity, basic rights and the principles of the constitutional and welfare state, democracy and the federal state. In addition, the provisions of international law and international agreements must be taken into account. As subjective rights, fundamental rights are, on the one hand, rights of defense against state powers; From a positive point of view, on the other hand, they guarantee opportunities for political participation, social participation and cultural development and also contain certain institutional guarantees (Hesse 1990, p.111ff.). With regard to the distinction between human and civil rights, it can be assumed that the real existence of foreigners will shift more and more to the Federal Republic as the length of their stay increases, giving them a "material basic rights position that (in many respects) corresponds to the material constitutional position of a German becomes the same. " (Schwerdtfeger 1980, p. A131).

The social prerequisites and political framework conditions that are of central importance for a multicultural society from an emancipatory perspective must include at least the following elements:

  • the recognition of the immigration situation and thus the "belonging" of the immigrant minorities to the host societies (Heckmann 1984),
  • the recognition of the multicultural society as a rudimentary existing fact, as a dynamic process and as a still to be realized goal,
  • the "legal emancipation" of the immigrants (Groenendijk 1985), i.e. the abolition of the special "state disposition" (Dohse 1981), anchored in immigration law, about those affected and their legal and political equality,
  • creating and securing opportunities for effective socio-political participation, self-organization and representation of the interests of immigrants,
  • the dismantling of "ethnic stratifications" existing in various areas of society (Fijalkowski 1984), and
  • the initiation and implementation of effective measures to limit and combat discrimination, xenophobia and (cultural) racism.

In the socio-cultural field, the measures necessary for the emancipation of the immigrant minorities should be oriented towards the point of view of "cultural democracy" (Messia 1987); this principle is intended to enable individuals and groups alike to achieve the most authentic and autonomous cultural development possible.

On the one hand, measures can contribute to this, which promote a "plural, culturally autonomous integration" of the immigrant minorities (Heckmann 1981, p.208ff.). In this regard, the social contexts that are developed in the process of immigration by and between the respective immigrants (groups) are significant. These 'immigration colonies' can help to enable those affected to actively deal with the respective living conditions and the development of "mixed cultures" or "intermediate worlds". (Auernheimer 1988, p.163ff.). In this way, processes of identity formation, integration and action orientation can be promoted. For this, however, it is necessary that the various forms of the immigration colonies are explicitly recognized by the political, social and cultural institutions of the receiving countries and that they are promoted materially and ideally.

The measures of a culturally autonomous integration of the immigrant minorities must be supplemented by an 'intercultural' orientation of social subsystems. A distinction can be made here between content-related and participatory dimensions.From a substantive point of view, this principle initially aims to adequately take into account the cultures of the immigrant minorities in the various areas of society (e.g. in kindergartens, schools, media, hospitals) and not to use them from the outset - e.g. with reference to their 'backwardness' or foreignness - excluded from these areas or only perceived in a shortened way (Beck-Oberdorf / Bethschneider 1990). This is especially true with regard to the respective mother tongues, religious convictions, cultural traditions as well as artistic forms of expression and products. By including the cultures of the immigrant minorities in this way, processes of encounter, exchange, (self-) reflection and discussion within and between the different cultures should also be promoted. From a participatory point of view, the principle of intercultural orientation implies that the various social and cultural areas are also open to members of the immigrant groups and that they must be appropriately involved in filling professional positions. In this respect, the principle of intercultural orientation is closely related to a 'structural' integration of the immigrant minorities.

Finally, it must be taken into account that critical-emancipatory ideas of a multicultural coexistence only have some chance of success and realization if social and political changes take place outside the area of ​​foreigners or immigrants. The measures mentioned must therefore be accompanied by other policies, especially those that are aimed at

  • the reduction of life risks, especially in the areas of peace and the environment,
  • reducing social inequalities, especially with regard to forms of old and new poverty, mass and permanent unemployment, gender-specific disadvantages and inequalities at the international level, and
  • the expansion of individual and collective opportunities for self-development and co-creation in the various areas of society.



Critical-emancipatory versions of multiculturalism are still provisional and are confronted with a multitude of questions and problems. Two problem areas are of particular relevance (Kostede 1991) and should therefore be briefly explained below.

Pluralist democracies and multicultural societies consider social, political and cultural diversity to be legitimate and allow wide legal leeway for its autonomous development. Due to this openness, however, a dialectic and dynamic can develop that endanger the unity and stability of society as a whole and lead to political disintegration. This gives rise to the problem of integrating social, political and cultural heterogeneity (Schulte 1992b). The above-mentioned principles of pluralistic democracy, but especially a minimal consensus that is recognized by the various social, political and cultural forces and, as a non-controversial sector, should enable conflicts to be resolved, should contribute to overcoming this problem. This creates tensions in conceptions of pluralism and multiculturalism between the postulates of openness and diversity on the one hand and tendencies to limit them on the other. These tensions gain in importance to the extent that the basic consensus should not only include an unbreakable recognition of the rule of law and democratic rules, but should also extend to content-related elements, in particular certain basic values.

Efforts to achieve an integration of these tensions between the controversial and the non-controversial sector can be oriented in different ways; A distinction can be made between a closed and an open consensus view (Schulte 1992b). With the first mentioned

Position, which is determined by more conservatively oriented points of view, the prevailing tendency is to present consensus as an expression of a homogeneous and objective value system that is removed from historical processes and social disputes and thus to fix it in terms of content. At the same time, however, the components of this consensus are equated with the prevailing socio-economic, sociopolitical and cultural structures. This results in tendencies to limit the scope granted by the basic rights under political opportunity aspects and in this way to exclude positions that are defined as (politically) inconsistent or (culturally) incapable of integration from the tolerated spectrum. Since the closed consensus view is shaped by the national, nationalistic, ethnocentric and / or (cultural) racist perspectives explained in more detail above, and the permanent presence of foreigners and their cultures is viewed as a problem or danger for integration into society as a whole, these become boundaries Accordingly, tolerance is not only drawn - as is the rule in an "open republic" (Oberndörfer 1991) - in cases of (human) rights violations, but already in cases in which immigrant cultures contradict or conflict with "basic beliefs and habits of the German population "advised (Schiffer 1991, p.55).

The problem of integration and consensus is thus solved in a way that is not only problematic but also unacceptable from various points of view:

  • So it is initially overlooked that the basic rights not only allow for people with German citizenship, but also for foreigners living in Germany wide scope for free and equal development. Accordingly, nobody may be disadvantaged or preferred "because of their gender, their descent, their race, their language, their homeland and origin, their beliefs, their religious or political views" (Article 3.3 of the Basic Law). Due to the different use of fundamental rights, conflicts between individuals and / or groups represent a normal phenomenon of social coexistence.
  • In addition, it is not recognized that a social and cultural change has taken place in connection with the immigration processes, which not only demands integration efforts from the immigrants, but also

    Makes demands on the habits of German society and its institutions.

  • In addition, the existence of a homogeneous and static German culture is assumed and this is made binding as a benchmark for assimilation, selection and / or segregration processes.
  • And finally, it is overlooked or suppressed that not insignificant elements in the hegemonic cultures of Western democracies (not least the aforementioned ways of thinking and practices of anti-culturalism from the right) are in partial or even massive contradiction to the normatively proclaimed human rights.

In contrast to the closed consensus, the open consensus is based on the assumption that the minimum consensus is a historical and social phenomenon and that its components can therefore be problematized and revised. The central task of the consensus is seen to act as a binding framework for the settlement of socio-political disputes and cultural conflicts and to exclude the use of direct violence. As a democratic framework, the consensus is open to the influence of different groups, concepts and values; thus it also contains contradicting elements and has an overall dynamic character.

This view is the prerequisite for overcoming the problem of integration and consensus in multicultural societies. With reference to the social and cultural changes that have taken place in connection with the development of immigrant minorities, on the one hand a "change in the we-consciousness of the FRG" (Hoffmann 1990, p.164) can be pleaded and demanded to "finally accept and take in the undeclared immigrants." (Thränhardt 1988, p.13). From this starting point, which is open to new social groups, considerations can also be developed to develop a consensus on the basis of "supra-ethnic values" (Smolicz 1982, p.45) or an "ethnically neutral state" (Hoffmann 1990, p.167ff.). Even if these proposals still need to be specified due to the difficult definition of the relationship between value universalism on the one hand and value relativism on the other, it can be assumed that human rights are of central importance here.

However, this cannot exclude the possibility that elements of cultural orientations on the part of the immigrant minorities - as well as on the part of the natives - violate general human rights. For example, black Africans who immigrated to France have forcibly circumcised their daughters with reference to the cultural traditions of their regions of origin (Ungeheuer 1991). In such or similar cases, the human dignity and the right to life and physical integrity of those affected are violated, the political integration of cultural diversity is endangered and the question of the limits of tolerance is rightly raised. Accordingly, effective measures must be taken to protect the dignity and rights of those affected. In order to enable the most rational possible interpretation and handling of such cases, the following aspects should also be taken into account:

  • Decisions on whether and in what way legal violations exist must be made in accordance with the rule of law; Otherwise there is a risk that fundamental rights will be instrumentalized as an instrument of exclusion and discrimination against the "strangers" defined as "incapable of integration".
  • Cultures are historical-dynamic phenomena and to that extent can be changed. The immigration processes that form the background for the emergence and development of multicultural societies involve social and cultural change; coping with it "demands learning processes on both sides" (Ungeheuer 1991). To encourage this, more leeway than before and institutional precautions for intercultural exchange processes must be created and expanded.
  • To the extent that immigrants adhere to certain cultural traditions in a seemingly rigid manner, it does not necessarily have to be a matter of just one cultural characteristic that is imported from the country of origin into the host country; Experiences made domestically can also form the background for such behavior, in particular experiences of institutional and everyday discrimination.


The second central problem with which multiculturalism is confronted is that of the political control of new (im) migration processes. There is a relatively high probability that the migratory movements coming from southern and eastern regions and directed towards Western Europe will not only continue for the foreseeable future, but will continue to grow (Hönekopp 1991; EC Commission 1991; Prokla 83/1991). This is due to a variety of push and pull factors; These include in particular the following:

"The worldwide economic integration and division of labor, the free movement within the current and future countries of the European Community, political unrest and wars in ever new areas, the great imbalance in the distribution of the world's resources, the expulsion or oppression of ethnic groups and religious minorities, the denial of elementary human rights or political freedoms in the countries of origin, the opposing demographic development in the northern and southern hemispheres of our globe, the opening of the borders between East and West in Europe. " (Funcke 1991, p.43f.).

Migration policy can react differently to immigration movements; In principle, a distinction can be made between a "conservative" and a "cosmopolitan" option (Körner 1990, pp.203f.). The conservatively oriented option assumes "to exclude strangers at one's own discretion in order to protect the interests of one's own society." (Körner 1990, p.203). In contrast, the second option is determined by the view that "in an increasingly closely interconnected world society, sovereign rights of exclusion no longer apply to the nation states (and their societies). For any international migration, whether it is politically induced (this is the case of refugee migration ) or for economic reasons (this is the case with economic and labor migration), is the logical consequence of the fact that everyone can see today that socio-economic life opportunities are spatially unevenly distributed. " (Körner 1990, p.204).

The state policies that have been pursued by the Federal Republic and other EC countries since the end of the recruitment phase can primarily be assigned to the conservative option. They were and are primarily shaped by the intention to limit immigration by foreigners from third countries as much as possible, and contain clear tendencies towards isolation, especially compared to current immigration. In principle, although these policies are compatible with applicable international law, they are nevertheless to be viewed as problematic from various points of view.

Policies aimed at restricting immigration are generally justified with the need to protect the interests and rights of domestic population groups, in particular those of employees (Federal Minister of the Interior 1991, p.51ff.), But they are above all due to the ruling classes shaped economic and political interests. In addition, within these policies, the situation and interests of the countries of origin are not taken into account, or only to a limited extent; accordingly, measures to eliminate the structural causes of migration movements have played only a very minor role, at least so far. In addition, the policies aimed at admission restrictions have so far generally been accompanied by a dismantling of rights on the part of migrants. This affected and still affects (potential) immigrants and, in particular, refugees, and also migrants who are already residing in Germany (e.g. due to restrictions in the area of ​​family reunification and measures to encourage return). After all, previous policies of admission restrictions have often (been) only effective to a very limited extent. In many cases, this is not exclusively due to administrative problems, but is primarily due to structural changes and pull effects on the labor markets of industrialized countries, which (despite prevailing unemployment) favor the immigration of foreign workers who only have low qualifications and are in In the area of ​​individual services, especially in the so-called underground economy. This in turn promotes - at least indirectly - forms of irregular or illegal immigration, the dismantling of legal security, the development of population groups without social protection rights and a 'new' subclassification (Körner 1990, p. 201ff.).

In the discussion that is currently going on in the Federal Republic of the multicultural society, new migration movements and migration policies, three positions are essentially represented, which contain a critical demarcation from the policies oriented towards the conservative option and which take greater account of aspects that are in the cosmopolitan option are included. Their main features and problems are briefly presented below:

  • Politics of open borders: This position, which the public often and exclusively identifies with the concept of the multicultural society (Kostede 1991), was formulated in a particularly clear way at a federal delegates' conference of the Greens in 1989:
    "The Greens consider the right to stay as a global supranational human right that knows no borders. It is incompatible with any form of partitioning off borders. It is the right of all people to a decent life, physical integrity and self-determination. The right to stay is the only limit in the observance of general human rights. " (THE GREENS 1989).

Here the importance of human and migrant rights is consistently emphasized from a cosmopolitan perspective; In a policy that focuses exclusively on this point of view, on the other hand, the important consequences that (can) result from increasing migration movements are disregarded, on the one hand in the immigration countries and here above all with regard to domestic work and housing - and education markets, public budgets and the attitudes of the local population towards new immigrants, on the other hand also in the regions of origin and here in particular with regard to development policy processes.

  • Policy of planned and controlled immigration: This policy is directed critically on the one hand against the prevailing state policy on foreigners, which is determined by the principle or the fiction that the Federal Republic is not a country of immigration, and on the other hand against a policy of open borders. The plea is for a concept "that allows immigration, but canalised, for all immigrants, whether from east and south-east

    Europe or from the Third World. "(Funcke 1991, p.45). The drafting of an immigration law is of central importance in this regard. The basic elements of this policy should include in particular the following:

    • Transparency and predictability of immigration through public discussion of the causes and consequences of labor immigration and through legally anchored quotas and quotas for immigration according to international crisis priorities and according to humanitarian, economic and socio-political criteria;
    • early adaptation of state social and investment programs to the planned immigration processes;
    • unchanged maintenance of the right of asylum under the Basic Law and the right to stay under the Geneva Refugee Convention, relief of the asylum and refugee law from being claimed by refugees from poverty and migrant workers;
    • Measures to secure residence as well as legal, political and social equality and integration of immigrants (Kostede 1990; Cohn-Bendit / Schmid 1991).

    All in all, these proposals are guided by what we believe is a fundamentally correct endeavor to cope with ongoing immigration processes in a rational and controlled manner, taking into account, on the one hand, migration policy requirements and, on the other hand, the aspects and conditions of the immigration countries. However, this also involves the risk of neglecting other necessary elements of a comprehensive migration policy - e.g. combating the causes of flight, taking into account the interests of the regions of origin, observing humanitarian aspects. In addition, specific proposals should be examined more closely as to which criteria, quotas and contingents (and thus also which interests) should be decisive for specific immigration regulations. Finally, it must be taken into account that this conception, in connection with the intended control of immigration, is confronted with problems similar to those encountered with policies based on the conservative option, and thus also with (unintended) consequences in the area of ​​(non-quoted) immigration

    of refugees and / or with a view to promoting irregular or illegal immigration processes.

  • Policies to eliminate or reduce the causes of migration: It is assumed here that the determining causes of migration movements do not lie in the host countries but in the countries of origin; the push factors that exist there are decisive for the compulsion to flee from war, violence and persecution on the one hand, and from hunger, poverty and misery on the other (Schnoor 1991). For this reason, legal or political measures that are primarily related to the control of immigration in the area of ​​the host countries (restrictions on asylum rights, immigration quotas, European harmonization of asylum rights) are viewed as incorrect, ineffective or ineffective. What is needed is a pan-European policy that resolutely and effectively "eliminates the causes of flight in the countries of origin and helps prevent them from occurring". (Schnoor 1991, p. 602). This is not just about benefiting the countries of origin, but primarily about a policy that results from the historical, economic and political (joint) responsibility of the European countries for the situation in the respective countries of origin. This systematically aims to eliminate or reduce the causes of migration and flight in the regions of origin; However, the question of how such a policy can assert itself against the prevailing economic and political interests of Western countries in the foreseeable future and how in the short and medium term to react to immigration processes that are taking place appears to be insufficiently clarified.

Overall, the three outlined positions each contain objectively justified, but also problematic aspects and (so far) unresolved questions. In order to achieve progress with a view to solving the problem of managing international migration processes, further considerations and discussions therefore appear necessary. From the point of view of the outlined critical-emancipatory multiculturalism and its concretization to the outside world, the main question to be investigated here is whether and how central elements of the policies of planned immigration can be linked with those of combating the causes of migration in a systematic and concrete manner.



Overall, multiculturalism - at least in its critical-emancipatory form - is "more than a left cuddle dream" (Heine 1989). Against the background of the social change associated with (im-) migration processes, it makes a contribution to the reduction of social inequalities and discrimination and to the further development of political, social and cultural democracy in the direction of "radical pluralism" and "radical equality principle" (Habermas 1990) at national and international level. Just like the discussion about the multicultural society as a whole, the critical-emancipatory version of multiculturalism still contains open questions and unsolved problems. Contributing to their answer or solution should be understood as a challenge for scientific analyzes as well as socio-political and (socio-) educational interventions. Appropriate handling of these tasks can only be expected if the processes, problems and policies of migration and integration are given greater attention than before and are also taken into account at the institutional level (Funcke 1991, p.43ff.).



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