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«Foreigners», «Ausländer», «Extranjeros»

Cultural and Linguistic Representations- Kulturelle und Linguistische Darstellungen


Edited By Mariann Larsen

The book investigates the European debate on culture and identity by pointing to those uses of language that shape the image and perception of migrants in host societies. The term ‘foreigner’ is highly sensitive to changes experienced by communities. Its meanings transcend its traditional semantic scope and lead to the discussion of notions such as nation, nationality, immigration, integration, citizenship, nationalism and multiculturalism. The words ‘foreigner’, ‘Ausländer’, ‘extranjero’ and the network of related terms are discussed from a multidisciplinary approach with the aim of identifying the core features of the concept of ‘foreignness’ in German, Spanish and English.
Dieses Buch untersucht die europäische Diskussion über Kultur und Identität. Im Zentrum steht dabei derjenige Sprachgebrauch, der das Bild und die Wahrnehmung hinsichtlich der Migranten in den Gastgeberländern prägt. Bei gesellschaftlichen Veränderungen wandelt sich auch der Gehalt des Begriffs «Ausländer». Seine Bedeutung geht über den traditionellen semantischen Rahmen hinaus und führt zur Diskussion über Konzepte wie Nation, Nationalität, Migration, Integration, Bürgerschaft, Nationalismus und Multikulturalität. Die Wörter ‚foreigner‘, ‚Ausländer‘, ‚extranjero‘ und deren semantisches Umfeld werden fachübergreifend behandelt, um die Grundmerkmale des Begriffs ‚Fremdartigkeit‘ auf Deutsch, Englisch und Spanisch zu identifizieren.
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The purpose of the book is to present the results of a research carried on “The representation of the ‘foreigner’ in the institutional discourse of Germany, Spain, and the UK from 1945 onwards” as part of the project ALTERAE1 that aims at exploring the different ways in which the ‘ other’ has been conceptualized, represented and reflected in those types of discourse that most significantly create and transform social reality. The word ‘foreigner’ and the network of related terms are discussed from various linguistic and multidisciplinary approaches with the aim of identifying and foregrounding the central features of the concept of ‘foreignness’ and making for the analysis of a complex notion heavily loaded with political, cultural, social and psychological implications.

In our contemporary globalized world, characterized by the porous nature of the political, cultural, technological and economic frontiers, as well as by massive flows of international mobility, the term ‘foreigner’ is highly sensitive to changes experienced by communities. Its meanings transcend its traditional semantic scope and lead to much debated notions such as nationality and identity, to no less controversial socio-economic, political and ideological issues such as immigration and integration and the critical concepts of citizenship, nationalism and multiculturalism.

Recent studies (Saunders 2005) have accurately pointed to the instability and ambiguity of the term. Its multiple semantic features are tightly interrelated: foreignness is a relative quality or attribute – we are only foreigners in the eyes of others – and it is thus an image, a mental representation created...

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