Anja Benedikt

Imaginings of Identity: The Construction of National Identity in the Immigrant Integration Discourse in Germany

Supervisors: Dr Isabelle Hertner and Dr Nando Sigona

My PhD research investigates the contemporary German immigrant integration discourse and how national identity is constructed within this discourse, as well as how such ideas of national belonging are negotiated among ordinary people of the dominant 'native' population. Immigration and integration policy and debate have arguably been one of the most consistent, contentious and emotionally-laden topics in German politics. Immigration and the presence of immigrants in society are inherently linked to questions of national identity. Who belongs to Germany? What does it mean to be German? And when is an immigrant truly integrated and becomes German? In order to answer such questions, the national 'Self' is essentially constructed in relation to what it is not, meaning the 'Other'.

By drawing on a social constructivist framework and using a triangulation of sources including documentary analysis, group and individual interviewing, the study seeks to examine how different narratives of national belonging in the recent German public discourse have developed or possibly changed as well as how such narratives are re-contextualized or contested among ordinary people of the dominant 'native' population.


After completing a BA (Hons) in International Management with European Language and Society at the University of Stirling, which included exchange visits to Flinders University, Australia and La Salle, Mexico, Anja came to the University of Birmingham in 2011 for starting her MA in European Studies. Her dissertation of the MA entitled "How would an ethically defensible immigration policy of the European Union look like?".

For her PhD project which investigates identity construction in the German immigrant integration discourse, Anja has won a 1+3 ESRC award. Within the first year of the MA in Social Research, her dissertation analysed the Discourse on Romanian and Bulgarian immigration in the UK and Germany.


  • BA (Hons) International Management with European Language and Society, University of Stirling, First Class
  • MA European Studies, University of Birmingham with Distinction
  • MA in Social Research

Research interests

  • Immigration and Integration Policies 
  • Immigration Discourse
  • Identity Politics
  • German Politics
  • Ethics and Human Rights