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Multiculturalism and the Welfare StateRecognition and Redistribution in Contemporary Democracies$
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Keith Banting and Will Kymlicka

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199289172

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199289172.001.0001

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Multiculturalism in Germany: Rhetoric, scattered experiments, and future chances

Multiculturalism in Germany: Rhetoric, scattered experiments, and future chances

(p.202) 7 Multiculturalism in Germany: Rhetoric, scattered experiments, and future chances
Multiculturalism and the Welfare State

Peter A. Kraus

Karen Schönwälder

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the historical factors that explain Germany's resistance to multiculturalism, which are partly rooted in the nature of the German welfare state and German labour relations. It considers the more recent cautious opening towards ideas of multiculturalism. In the past decade, the German left (particularly the Social Democratic Party) has had an intense internal debate about whether to embrace MCPs, and how such a shift towards multiculturalism would affect its electoral chances and its traditional social policy goals. The chapter examines the different positions adopted in this debate, the basis for fears that MCPs might jeopardize welfare state goals, and the factors shaping the resulting political strategies. It is shown that while there is no evidence that MCPs have weakened the welfare state, the German case suggests that fears of such an impact can weaken the political alliances necessary to introduce or sustain MCPs.

Keywords:   multiculturalism policies, political alliances, immigration, Germany, welfare state, social policy

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