Documenting self-loathing or ‘We are proud of not being proud’: Neukölln Unlimited and Prinzessinnenbad as examples of failed integration

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Abstract

The experiences of six adolescents in Berlin, as depicted in two documentaries, serve as examples of failed integration. These young people, some with and some without a migrant background, allow glimpses into their lives in Neukölln Unlimited (2010) by Agostino Imondi and Dietmar Ratsch, and in Bettina Blümner’s Prinzessinnenbad / Pool of Princesses (2007). This article highlights how the films corroborate the findings made by social system theorist Ulrich Schmidt-Denter about disaffected youth in Germany. He argues that German self-loathing is a significant reason for the failure of many migrants and their children to integrate. An apparently specifically German tendency to observe and reflect on oneself critically seems to sabotage integration and aspiration. To illustrate how both documentaries validate Schmidt-Denter’s findings, I analyse the six protagonists’ attitudes to themselves and others, demonstrating that they contradict the diagnosis of a new German norm in relation to national identity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-289
JournalJournal of European Studies
Volume47
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2017

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