Destinations Magazine

Doppelgänger Envy

By Stizzard
Doppelgänger envy

AS THE flood of refugees who arrived in Germany last year has tapered to a trickle, scholars have begun to examine the challenges the migrant crisis poses to German identity. Social scientists are looking at public attitudes. For example, in the aftermath of last winter’s assaults in Cologne, much was made of German fears of Middle Eastern migrants’ sexual behavior. Research by Marc Helbling, a sociologist in Bamberg, finds that the belief that migrants are sexually dangerous is concentrated among German men and women who are “benevolent sexists”—those who regard women as a weaker sex in need of male protection. This view is more common on the right than on the left.

Others are looking more deeply into how the migrant crisis has affected the national psyche. Matthias Wellershoff, a psychoanalyst in Cologne, has noticed that the crisis forms the emotional backdrop for many of his patients’ complaints. Headlines during the crisis reflected only the most extreme reactions: a euphoric “welcome culture” among some Germans and a xenophobic backlash by others. But judging by what they say on the couch, most Germans’ feelings are subtler and more…

The Economist: Europe

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