Immigrant organizations and boundaries of political participation: the case of Turkey origin immigrant associations in Germany

Çoban Balcı, Aslıhan
This dissertation aims to explore different comprehensions of immigrants’ political participation and/or integration adopted by two distinct groups of organizations founded by Turkey origin immigrants in Germany, namely religious immigrant organizations and secular immigrant organizations. To that end, the unique political practices of migrant organizations are comparatively analyzed with reference to their activities, objectives, decision making processes, organizational structures, and conceptions on political participation, democracy and integration. The data were collected through thirthy six in-depth interviews with the executive or active board members of nine different migrant associations. The interviews were conducted in Cologne and Bielefeld within the years 2012-2013. The findings of the interviews reveal that the two groups of immigrant associations could be associated with two different social capitals, namely bonding social capital and bridging social capital. The dissertation also shows that in the relevant literature, there is little focus on the organizations which disseminate and carry bridging social capital. Thus, existing theoretical approaches on the immigrants’ political participation in Europe is critically evaluated. Based on the findings, this dissertation argues that the mentioned bilateral differentiation among immigrant groups has some negative effects on the well-being of the immigrant community and on the social harmony in Germany.