800 years ago they came to Transylvania on the request from a Hungarian king that needed someone to guard the southern borders of his kingdom. They came from the Low lands in northern Germany and Belgium, and were called the Saxons. Some other smaller groups of Germans entered Transylvania around the middle of the 18th century, and together with the Saxons they make out what today is called the German minority in Transylvania.
After centuries of living next to Hungarians and Romanians the Germans in Tranyslvania still hold on to a clear German identity and speak German among themselves. This thesis is about their ways of defining and maintaining their identity in a Transylvanian context. The main focus will be on how narratives are used, by the Germans, but also by the other minority, the Hungarians and by the Romanian majority to shape identity. I will treat the German identity projects as taking place within a Transylvanian context where other groups also struggle with the same. The analysis is based upon a one year fieldwork in Transylvania where I collected both German, Hungarian and Romanian narratives, and also was able to live in families of all three ethnic groups at different times. The Transylvaia narratives will here be defined as identity-shapers. There is, however, a second aspect to the narratives: Their antagonistic way of portraying the other and the way the narratives are expressed and imprinted in a political and public setting is potentially a great source of conflict between holders of different narratives. The narratives cause trouble in Transylvania because the different narratives that exist side by side often appear to be radically incompatible.
The Transylvanian narratives are identity-shapers and troublemakers at the same time. The Transylvanian challenge is how to shape and maintain identities and simultaneously limit the amount of trouble, or, in other words; how to maintain separate narratives and identities and still be able to live peacefully together with neighbors that tell very different stories.