Associate Professor Lisa Werkmeister Rozas was recently awarded a UConn Small Faculty Grant to conduct focus groups of Germans to explore what it means to them to be “German”. In cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences, Merseburg, Germany, Dr. Werkmeister Rozas and her colleague Professor Johannes Herwig-Lempp hope to have a range of participants, various generations, East and West Germans and those with a history of immigration, to see if there are differences. Dr. Lisa Werkmeister Rozas It is hoped that the study can then be broadened to an even larger population and perhaps comparing it to how US Americans see their identity.
The distinction between national identity and citizenship is greatly dependent on a country’s history of inter-ethnic group relations. In many European countries national identity and ethnicity are interchangeable, while in other countries, such as the United States, national identity in certain respects supersedes ethnicity and/or race. However, neither is completely separate nor static, they are connected, fluid and dynamic. The way identity is negotiated gives insight into the dynamics of inter-ethnic relationships in a country. Examining the newly developing identity of post-war Germans with their experience with migration, discrimination, racism, and prejudice through a social work and human rights lens, allows for greater understanding of how elements of power, privilege and prejudice are created and maintained in any society.