Interrogating Integration

Sports, Celebrity, and Scandal in the Making of New Germany

Subjects: German Studies, Political Science, Political Behavior and Public Opinion, Sports
Paperback : 9780472057382, 264 pages, 8 images, 2 tables, 6 x 9, April 2025
Hardcover : 9780472077380, 264 pages, 8 images, 2 tables, 6 x 9, April 2025
Ebook : 9780472904983, 264 pages, 8 images, 2 tables, 6 x 9, April 2025
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Examining integration discourse through the lens of public debates and sporting events in Germany


Interrogating Integration explores how media campaigns, public debates, and international sporting spectacles construct national identity in an era of rising nationalism. Across Europe, “integration” has emerged as a guiding concept to regulate and control cultural differences, particularly in Germany where integration has become a watchword since the introduction of birthright citizenship in 2000. The expansion of German citizenship threatened the homogeneous definition of the nation and spurred increased scrutiny of people identified as migrants. This has opened a new chapter in the complicated, often ambivalent relationship between the White Christian-German majority and immigrants and Germans of color, particularly Muslim and Black Germans. The celebrations, scandals, and debates analyzed here reveal how the admission of new citizens inspired an optimistic cosmopolitanism that claimed to definitively separate the new Germany from its fascist past while simultaneously reinscribing racialized hierarchies and providing fuel for growing far-right politics.

Using touchstones of public memory, including events surrounding men’s World Cup soccer and the record-breaking success of a book blaming Muslims for Germany’s decline, Zambon challenges persistent problems in European conceptions of race, where racializing projects take place under an “ideology of racelessness” and the atrocities of historical and transnational racisms are used to deny current local forms of racism. Interrogating Integration builds on this concept by exploring how the integration paradigm in popular media played into a new nationalist resurgence and how nativist arguments have deep roots to the core of modern democratic policies and discourses. 

Kate Zambon is Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of New Hampshire.

Interrogating Integration is an outstandingly well-written book that offers an incredible overview of the recent politics of integration as well as a wide overview of the problems of the politics of integration in Germany. It also shows the link between the mainstream demands for integration and the emergence of the far right as part of the center of contemporary German political life. Its broad focus will make it invaluable to scholars working in Germany and Europe more broadly.”

- Damani James Partridge, University of Michigan

Interrogating Integration is a well-written book that engages with crucial key events in the German debate on migration and inclusion in ways that will appeal to readers outside of Germany. The book contributes to a broad understanding of media as it examines various modalities of mediated communication while it also introduces students and other readers interested in the present-day German migration debates to the subject in an intriguing way with analysis that is detailed and convincing.”

- Karina Horsti, University of Minnesota