Skip to main content
Intended for healthcare professionals
Restricted access
Research article
First published online January 7, 2014

Changing the National Narrative: Evolution in Citizenship and Integration in Germany, 2000–10


The past 10 years of German history give evidence of a paradigm shift in Germany’s national narrative. The early years of the decade were marked by widespread denial at the elite level that Germany was a country of immigration and adherence to an assimilationist model of integration but progressed to the creation of a National Integration Plan by Christian Union Chancellor Angela Merkel and the liberalization of public opinion. Germany’s recent history shows dramatic discursive and policy changes. This article documents the changes in elite discursive scripts, showing the gradual acceptance and rejection of discourses about integration and their implications for national identity. It concludes that, though the changes are not universally liberal, the decade as a whole constitutes a remarkable liberalization of both elite discourse and public opinion.

Get full access to this article

View all access and purchase options for this article.


Helen Williams is Lecturer in Politics at the University of Nottingham. Her research interests focus on contemporary citizenship and immigration policy in the UK and Germany, theories of institutional change, and higher education pedagogy. ‘Das britische Integrationsmodell’ (‘The British Model of Integration’) appeared in the Zeitschrift für Ausländerrecht in May/June 2013. Previous publications include ‘Crossing the Divide: Building and Breaking Down Borders Through Discourse on Citizenship and Naturalization Policy in Germany and the UK, 2000–2010’, Eurostudia 7(1–2).

Cite article

Cite article

Cite article


Download to reference manager

If you have citation software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice

Share options


Share this article

Share with email

Share access to this article

Sharing links are not relevant where the article is open access and not available if you do not have a subscription.

For more information view the Sage Journals article sharing page.

Information, rights and permissions


Published In

Article first published online: January 7, 2014
Issue published: January 2014


  1. citizenship
  2. discourse
  3. Germany
  4. immigration
  5. integration
  6. national identity

Rights and permissions

© The Author(s) 2013 Reprints and permissions:
Request permissions for this article.


Issue published: January 2014
Published online: January 7, 2014



Helen Williams


Helen Williams, School of Politics and International Relations, Law and Social Sciences, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK. Email: [email protected]

Metrics and citations


Journals metrics

This article was published in Journal of Contemporary History.


Article usage*

Total views and downloads: 634

*Article usage tracking started in December 2016

Articles citing this one

Web of Science: 11 view articles Opens in new tab

Crossref: 8

  1. New models of the “Good refugee” – bureaucratic expectations of Syrian...
    Go to citation Crossref Google Scholar
  2. Repetition, adaptation, institutionalization—How the narratives of pol...
    Go to citation Crossref Google Scholar
  3. Chapter 5. “Organically German”?
    Go to citation Crossref Google Scholar
  4. ‘I’m not entitled to be married in Germany? Am I German or am I not?’ ...
    Go to citation Crossref Google Scholar
  5. Learning to belong? An analysis of Germany’s migrant orientation progr...
    Go to citation Crossref Google Scholar
  6. Asserting the Nation: The Dominance of National Narratives in Policy I...
    Go to citation Crossref Google Scholar
  7. English in the German-Speaking World: Immigration and Integration
    Go to citation Crossref Google Scholar
  8. Chapter 13. Discourses of immigration and integration in German newspa...
    Go to citation Crossref Google Scholar

Figures and tables

Figures & Media


View Options

Get access

Access options

If you have access to journal content via a personal subscription, university, library, employer or society, select from the options below:

Alternatively, view purchase options below:

Purchase 24 hour online access to view and download content.

Access journal content via a DeepDyve subscription or find out more about this option.

View options


View PDF/ePub

Full Text

View Full Text