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Keywords:

  • hybridity;
  • gender;
  • micropolitics;
  • Islam;
  • Europe

Against a backdrop of increasingly vocal assertions that Germany's growing Muslim immigrant population is resisting integration through the development of a “parallel society,” this article demonstrates how German social policy literature, the news media, and cinema converge to naturalize assumptions of cultural difference through a mythological process that generates polarized stereotypes of the cultural practices of Turks in Germany. This discourse freezes the Muslim woman as an oppressed other to the liberated Western woman and generates scripts for the liberation of Turkish women that limit their options by posing multiculturalism, hybridity, or humanistic individualism as the only models for integration. This discourse reinforces the misrecognition of practicing Muslims who are involved in Islamic groups or wear headscarves. I propose an alternative approach that focuses on the practical effects of competing discourses by tracing out ethnographically the micropolitics of everyday life to foreground the multiple positionings and identities that immigrants and their families occupy and to identify how they negotiate the contradictions and inconsistencies they experience.