Rita Chin, The Guest Worker Question in Postwar Germany
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Rita Chin’s book focuses on the history of the “guest worker question”: the debate about labor migration in postwar West Germany. It charts public discussions about guest workers over a thirty-five-year period, from the official beginning of labor recruitment in 1955 to the reunification of Germany in 1990. Focusing primarily on Turkish guest workers, who became both the largest and most contentious part of the labor migration, it is an interesting if unevenly-executed study of an important topic in migration history.
One of the main objectives of the book is to bring together two kinds of analysis that have generally been pursued separately: on the one hand, social scientific research on the political and economic aspects of the labor migration; on the other, literary and cultural analysis of work produced by minority artists. Chin argues that policymaking and cultural production “need to be understood as constituent parts of an ongoing, continually shifting public dialogue on the...