Immigrants and Parasites: The History of a Bio-Social Metaphor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In autumn 2010, the website of the popular German womens magazine Brigitte,, opened a blog for discussion of a recent bestseller authored by an Executive Board member of the German Central Bank (Bundesbank) and member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Thilo Sarrazin, that had as its title the statement Germany does away with itself (Sarrazin 2010a). The book articulated a strident criticism of Germanys immigration policy over the past 4 decades and alleged that the bulk of the Muslim minority in Germany, mainly of Turkish origin, had formed a parallel society who were unable and/or unwilling to integrate into German society and who had taken advantage of its social welfare system. It argued in favour of policies to effect successful integration of the existing Muslim population and a stop to further immigration. As could be expected, the publication triggered massive public debates and controversies, in the course of which Sarrazin resigned from his position as Board Member of Central Bank and the SPD started proceedings to strip him of his membership. On the other hand, Sarrazin received support from mainstream journalists and politicians who accused his detractors of double standards and the desire to silence any non politically correct” contribution to the public debate about immigration and multiculturalism (Matussek 2010; Dohnanyi 2010).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMigrations: Interdisciplinary Perspectives
EditorsMichi Messer, Renee Schroeder, Ruth Wodak
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)978-3-7091-0949-6
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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