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Title: Multicultural racism and the production of the Ausländer in German political discourse, 1994-2002
Author: Zacharias, Thomas
ISNI:       0000 0004 6494 115X
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis represents an attempt to think through the ways in which cultural diversity is conceptualised and articulated through discourses of ‘multiculturalism’ in contemporary Germany. It focuses on a period of significant political transformation during the 1990s through which issues of immigration, integration and cultural diversity emerged as central topics in political debate. The thesis uses a range of empirical and conceptual tools such as critical discourse analysis and semiotic analysis to investigate the visual and textual political discourses of two political parties: the right-wing party CDU/CSU and the left-wing Green party. It argues that the political discourses produced by the parties - framed by the notion of ‘multiculturalism’ - variously produce, and re-produce, static notions of culture and essentialist modes of belonging. My analysis intends to show that the discourses through which the parties address cultural diversity in Germany are linked in complex ways to Germany’s fascist past. They are characterised by an avoidance of critical engagement with the issue of racism, and they perpetuate an understanding of identity as fixed and unchangeable. I argue that both left- and right-wing political discourse facilitates the marginalisation and racialisation of Germany’s ‘ethnic minorities’. The final section of the thesis considers the way in which these political discourses are contested by grassroots ‘ethnic minority’ activists. I argue that these counterdiscourses provide an effective critique of the positions outlined by the political parties. The thesis argues that these creative interventions by individuals and groups hitherto constructed as different and as not belonging to Germany provide an effective critique of the discourse generated by the political parties - they offer a more productive way of thinking about contemporary multiculture in Germany today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral