Date of Award

2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Communication

First Advisor

Marwan M. Kraidy

Abstract

This dissertation examines public discourse on culture and integration and asks how do mediated public discussions about integration reproduce norms of national culture and identity that operate to represent and manage “Other” (immigrant, minority, etc.) populations in the German context? Through a case study approach, this dissertation uses critical discourse theory to analyze public campaigns, media events, and mediated controversies since the mid-2000s that sought to define the qualifications for cultural citizenship. Although in recent years an increasing number of publications have addressed Germany’s diverse and transnational population, examinations of processes and policies of integration have tended to focus either on the level of the government or on the level of everyday life. Although ideas about integration and multiculturalism are predominantly forged through events and the surrounding representations in the media, the mid-level processes of the media sphere have been neglected in scholarship. Using Foucault’s theories on biopolitics, I argue that integration discourse divides the population into normative nationals and candidates for integration, consisting of individuals with apparent immigrant heritage. This division sets up a neoliberal framework of perpetual evaluation that separates the productive from the threatening integration candidates while reinforcing normative foundations of Germanness. This dissertation includes three sections. The first outlines two major foundations of German national ideas: The Romantic nation represented by the idea of Heimat and the rational, Enlightenment notion of Germany as a bastion of Western values. This section examines the historical and theoretical underpinnings of these schemas of identity and the place of “new Germans” within them. The second section examines the construction of “the new Germany” in the first decade of the new millennium through the media’s celebration of immigrant patriots and the emergence of “soccer patriotism.” The three chapters in this section examine three different cases in the media that illuminate the relationship between patriotism and productivity and the role of diversity in this new national formation. The third section analyzes media events that construct boundaries separating integration successes from failures. These cases expose the continuities linking celebrations and condemnations of immigrants and new Germans.

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