Middle-Class German Migrants in the United States: Migrants, Immigrants, Expatriates, Transmigrants, Mobile Citizens or German Americans?

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Drawing on data from interviews with twenty-five German citizens, this paper aims to shed some light on the migration experience of contemporary middle-class Germans who migrated to the United States. The interview data suggest that while these individuals have achieved successful socioeconomic integration and do not encounter discrimination or negative prejudices, they exhibit a strong sense of their German identity, rejecting such common labels such as “immigrant,” “expatriate,” or “German American.” Instead, they continue to negotiate their identity as “Germans living in America.” Like most immigrants, they engage in “transnational activities”; however, in contrast to the transnational activities sought out by unskilled migrants and global elites, these migrants tend to favor personal, social, or cultural activities over economic or political activities.



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Copyright © 2020 The German Studies Association. This article first appeared in German Studies Review 43:3 (2020), 537-551. Reprinted with permission by Johns Hopkins University Press.

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