The German Migration Integration Regime

Syrian Refugees, Bureaucracy, and Inclusion


Giving voice to the experiences of Syrian refuges who sought asylum in Germany, this ethnography puts a spotlight on how the binary notions of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ refugees produced by the regime strained the relationship between refugees and the state, revealing the inconsistencies and failings of a universal approach to integration.

Restricted access

Syrian refugees who gained asylum in Germany following the so-called refugee crisis in 2015 quickly entered into an ‘integration regime’ which produced a binary notion of ‘well integrated’ migrants versus refugees falling short of the narrow social and political definitions of a ‘good’ refugee.

Etzel’s rich ethnographic study shows how refugees navigated this conditional inclusion. While some asylum seekers gained international protection, others were left with limited agency to demand government accountability for the ever-moving target of integration.

Putting a spotlight on the inconsistencies and failings of a universal approach to integration, this is an important contribution to the wider field of migration and anthropology of the state.

Morgan Etzel is Program Officer for Anti-Racism at the Federal Agency for Civic Education in Germany.

Author/Editor details at time of book publication.