“Organically German”? Changing ideologies of national belonging

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This chapter examines variation in the situated meanings of the term Biodeutsche(r), a term which has emerged relatively recently as a way to refer to people who are German by descent (i.e., not of migration background). This analysis shows that use of this term reflects competing discourses about the role of ethnicity in national belonging in Germany. While the origin and many uses of the term challenge the validity of ethnicity as a basis for legitimacy in German society, some of the data suggest that it has also been adopted as a supposedly neutral term to describe a segment of the German population, which supports an ethnonational ideology.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLanguage Variation - European Perspectives VIII
Subtitle of host publicationSelected papers from the Tenth International Conference on Language Variation in Europe (ICLaVE 10), Leeuwarden, June 2019
EditorsHans van de Velde, Nanna Haug Hilton, Remco Knooihuizen
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishers
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9789027259820
ISBN (Print)9789027208859
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2021

Publication series

NameStudies in Language Variation
PublisherJohn Benjamins
ISSN (Print)1872-9592


  • national identities

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