Left … out? One woman’s politics cloud citizenship chances

Feeling left out? Looks like just about anyone may experience exclusion and/or discrimination at least once in their life. In one woman’s case the boundaries of exclusion had nothing to do with her race or ethnicity, not even gender, but her political affiliation. Jannine Menger-Hamilton has resided in Germany for most of her life. Raised in Germany to European parents of Italian and Scottish origin Menger-Hamilton feels she is just as European, including German, as the next German citizen. Yet when she applied for German citizenship her request was turned down. She was surprised to discover that she was denied for the reason that “she was unsuitable to receive a German passport because she has been active in the Left party.”

This woman’s story is an interesting one in terms of asking the questions, “What is German?” and “How are members of a society formed (or better yet, how they controlled)?” Amanda Root in her book Market Citizenship makes a great observation in connecting the link between citizenship and a status quo that is formed through political bodies, stating that they are actually opposing factors. In other words, people are expected to conduct themselves in a certain manner that is socially, and even more politically, acceptable. For Jannine Menger-Hamilton being in opposition to the status quo made her an unsuitable candidate for German citizenship.

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