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William Dodd

This article reports on contemporary debates in Germany on the extensive use of English in Germans' use of German. In particular, it focuses on the debate held at the University of Birmingham between Professor Jürgen Schiewe and Thomas Paulwitz on the question: “The influence of English on German today: Grounds for concern?” The rise of a nationalist discourse on language since the mid-1990s is traced with particular reference to the Verein Deutsche Sprache and the quarterly publication Deutsche Sprachwelt. The purist position represented by Paulwitz, editor of Deutsche Sprachwelt, and opposed by Schiewe, Professor of German Philology at the University of Greifswald, is found to represent a discourse on national identity that fails to engage with modern linguistic science.

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Charlotte Galpin

The European Union has been in its biggest ever crisis since the onset of the Greek sovereign debt crisis in 2010. Beyond the political and economic dimensions, the crisis has also sparked discussions about Germany's European identity. Some scholars have argued that Germany's behavior in the crisis signals a continuation of the process of “normalization” of its European identity toward a stronger articulation of national identity and interests, that it has “fallen out of love” with Europe. This article will seek to reassess these claims, drawing on detailed analysis of political and media discourse in Germany—from political speeches through to both broadsheet and tabloid newspapers. It will argue that the crisis is understood broadly as a European crisis in Germany, where the original values of European integration are at stake. Furthermore, the crisis is debated through the lens of European solidarity, albeit with a particular German flavor of solidarity that draws on the economic tradition of ordoliberalism. Rather than strengthening expressions of national identity, this has resulted in the emergence of a new northern European identity in contrast to Greece or “southern Europe.”

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Diasporas without a consciousness

Japanese Americans and the lack of a Nikkei identity

Takeyuki Gaku Tsuda

English abstract: Some scholars have recently suggested that the concept of diaspora should be regarded as a type of identity or consciousness instead of as a transnational ethnic community. While it is undeniable that some dispersed ethnic populations identify as diasporic peoples, older “economic diasporas“ sometimes have lost their transnational social cohesion and do not have a diasporic consciousness. I illustrate this by examining the experiences of Japanese Americans, an important part of the “Japanese diaspora“ of Japanese descendants (Nikkei) scattered throughout the Americas. Because they have become assimilated in the United States over the generations, they no longer maintain any notable diasporic identification with the ethnic homeland or to other Japanese descent ethnic communities in the Americas. Even when they encounter Nikkei from other countries, national cultural differences make it difficult for them to develop a diasporic identity as Japanese descendants with a common cultural heritage or historical experiences.

Spanish abstract: Algunos académicos han sugerido recientemente que el concepto de diáspora debe ser considerado como un tipo de identidad o conciencia en lugar de una comunidad étnica transnacional. Si bien es innegable que algunos dispersos grupos étnicos se identifican como pueblos en diáspora, las diásporas económicos más antiguos a veces han perdido su cohesión social transnacional y no tienen conciencia de diáspora. Este artículo ilustra esta situación examinando las experiencias de los estadounidenses de origen japonés, una parte importante de la diáspora japonesa de los descendientes de japoneses (Nikkei) repartidos por todo el continente americano. Debido a que se han asimilado en los Estados Unidos a lo largo de las generaciones, este grupo ya no mantiene una notable identificación de la diáspora con el país de origen étnico o con las otras comunidades de descendientes de japoneses étnicos en las Américas. Incluso cuando se encuentran con gente Nikkei de otros países, las diferencias nacionales-culturales hacen que sea difícil para ellos desarrollar una identidad de diáspora como descendientes de japoneses con un patrimonio cultural común o de experiencias históricas.

French abstract: Certains chercheurs ont récemment suggéré l’idée que le concept de diaspora devrait être considéré comme un type d’identité ou une forme de conscience, et non plus comme une communauté ethnique transnationale. S’il s’avère indéniable que certains groupes ethniques dispersés soient parvenus à s’identifier en tant que peuple de la diaspora (peuples diasporiques), il n’en demeure pas moins que les « diasporas économiques » plus anciens ont perdus dans ce processus leur cohésion sociale transnationale traditionnelle ainsi qu’une part de leur conscience diasporique. J’illustre cela en examinant les expériences des Américains d’origine japonaise, particulièrement celle de la descendance des Nikkei qui représente l’une des franges de la diaspora japonaise la plus répandue à travers les Amériques. Bien qu’ils aient réussi leur assimilation aux États-Unis au fil des générations, ces derniers n’ont toutefois pas su conserver l’identité diasporique qui les reliait avec leur région d’origine ou à d’autres communautés ethniques d’origine japonaise présentes dans les Amériques. Même quand ils rencontrent les Nikkei en provenance d’autres pays, les différences culturelles nationales qui les séparent font qu’il leur est difficile de développer une identité diasporique qui permette de les distinguer comme des descendants japonais partageant un patrimoine culturel commun ou une expérience historique commune.

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Matthew W. Binney

Critics have argued that a shift toward the “inward” occurred later in eighteenthcentury travel writing in part because of earlier questions of credibility. However, John Campbell’s fictional The Travels and Adventures of Edward Brown (1739) focuses upon the “inward” by drawing upon a technique already used in novels—that is, depicting the narrator as a consciousness. Consciousness, or personal identity, derives from John Locke and appears in Campbell’s travel account to demonstrate how circumstances define the narrator’s travel experiences. These circumstances at once establish the credibility of the narrator’s descriptions and also promote Campbell’s Tory commercialism. For the first, the narrator’s consciousness offers a credible account by describing how people live in time and place; for the second, the narrator demonstrates how personal identity and political ideology were attached from the outset, promoting commerce and colonialism through the narrator’s depiction of a nation’s circumstances that produce unique customs and commodities.

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Eunike Piwoni

There seems to be a wide consensus in the academic community that the Holocaust is gradually losing significance in the German public. This development is clearly reflected in public elite discourse on national identity, where “Holocaust-centered memory” has ceased to be hegemonic. In the literature, several interpretations and reasons have been presented to explain this development. This paper contributes to the debate by arguing that the declining presence of Holocaust-centered arguments in intellectual elite discourse on national identity is due to a new consensual idea of German nationhood. Based on an event-oriented discourse analysis of more than 800 articles in opinion-leading newspapers, journals and magazines covering a period of more than twenty years, I argue that in national identity discourse, the Holocaust has never been—as is usually assumed—a blockade to displays of national identity in general, but only to a specific interpretation of the German nation as a Volk and as an exclusionist culture nation. By contrast, the idea of nationhood that dominates in the German public sphere today, the civic nation model, has never invoked Holocaust-centered counter-arguments—not even in the Historikerstreit in the 1980s. Thus, over the past three decades, the way national identity discourse has operated might have changed less than had often been assumed. The central argument of this paper is that the Holocaust has become a “latent”—but not a less consequential—argumentative resource.

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"Wir Sind Das Volk"

Narrative Identity and the Other in the Discourse of the PEGIDA Movement

Adrian Paukstat and Cedric Ellwanger

PEGIDA, the self-proclaimed ‘Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the Occident’ movement is a highly debated topic in Germany. Over the course of the refugee crisis it has become clear that this movement would not perish as quickly as many analysts thought. The authors investigated PEGIDA's narrative identity (Ricoeur 2005) in relation to their conceptions of Self and Other, using Keller's (2008) Sociology of Knowledge Approach to Discourse (SKAD). In this, the authors utilize discourse-related paradigms to reconstruct subject positions and narrative identities, as articulated in public speeches and commentary of PEDGIDA supporters in 2014-5. Beyond the issue of PEGIDA itself, this study aims to introduce new paradigms on collective political identity, which can also shed new light on the issue of populist movements in a time of a legitimacy crisis of the European Union and the growing numbers seeking refuge in Europe.

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Babak Rezvani

The Fereydani Georgians are Shi'a Muslims, while the Georgians of Georgia are predominantly Orthodox Christians. This article deals with the mechanism by which Fereydani Georgians reaffirm their Shi'a identity in harmony with the Iranian Georgians' role in the Iranian history. After discussing the theoretical foundation of the relationship between history and ethnic (and national) self-identification, the article describes how Fereydani Georgian identity is represented today and how important historical events are narrated in order to create a cohesive and coherent image of self - an outcome that is called 'emic coherence'. The concept of historical peak experience is introduced on an ethnic level.

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'Where Is Your “F”?'

Psychological Testing, Communication and Identity Formation in a Multinational Corporation

Sigrid Damman

The article is based on multi-sited fieldwork in a multinational corporation, where psychological tests were used extensively to facilitate communication and human resource development. The analysis indicates that the test effects were more complex than intended. Their application may be considered as a form of audit that was both individualizing and totalizing. While socio-cultural negotiations reached a level with new common reference points, attention was diverted away from important aspects of the socio-cultural context. Individuals were quick to struggle and assert themselves through the categories of the tests, but at the same time the room for diverse, independent articulations of identity at work seemed to be diminishing. In other words, the application of the tests may have opened some discursive fields, but narrowed others, thus contributing to a form of generification (Errington and Gewertz 2001) and entification (Zubiri 1984) of work identities. These observations give reason to question and continue exploring the effects of psychological typologies in corporate settings.

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Teaching National Identity and Alterity

Nineteenth Century American Primary School Geography Textbooks

Bahar Gürsel

The swift and profound transformations in technology and industry that the United States began to experience in the late 1800s manifested themselves in school textbooks, which presented different patterns of race, ethnicity, and otherness. They also displayed concepts like national identity, exceptionalism, and the superiority of Euro-American civilization. This article aims to demonstrate, via an analysis of two textbooks, how world geography was taught to children in primary schools in nineteenth century America. It shows that the development of American identity coincided with the emergence of the realm of the “other,” that is, with the intensification of racial attitudes and prejudices, some of which were to persist well into the twentieth century.

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Qing Gu

This article discusses the nature of Chinese students' transnational experiences and its impact on their identities within and beyond national and cultural boundaries. The discussion is located in the theoretical framework of transnationalism and explores in detail the ways in which students adapt, change and develop, both in the host country of their study and also on their return to work in their home countries. Empirical evidence in the article is drawn from the findings of three studies, led by the author, which have investigated the pedagogical, sociocultural and emotional challenges that Chinese students have encountered when studying at British universities, and the perceived impact of their overseas studies on their lives and careers in their home countries. The research findings suggest that there are distinctive patterns of challenges, struggles, adjustments, change and achievement over time – all of which are embedded in the processes of socialisation, enculturation and professionalisation. Such experiences are both transitional and transformational and, most profoundly, they necessitate identity change at and across different layers of boundaries. At the heart of this identity change is a constant, emotional search for a reflexive sense of self as an embodied individual, a member of a professional group and a member of an organisation.