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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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‘Foreigners’ and the discourse on Multiculturalism



The paper aims at studying what ‘being a foreigner’ means in the context of contemporary EU. An analysis of the uses and meanings1 of the term ‘foreigner’ reveals varied relations to an intricate network of concepts such as nation, nationality, citizenship, culture, ethnicity, among others. Moreover, at one point or another, it is bound to consider the notions of migration, multiculturalism, integration and diversity.

Multiculturalism (MC) has been – and still is, in its post-MC form – a most significant issue in the discourse shaping the contemporary social, cultural and political identity of the EU. In spite of the current narrative of the “failure of multiculturalism” and of the disappearance of the term in public political and institutional discourse2, it still lingers at the core of heated debates about ‘national identity’, ‘culture’ ‘citizenship’ and ‘belonging’ in public discourse, the media, internet, academic circles and in everyday life.

Although MC3 is ultimately about how foreigners – and more specifically, in today’s world, ‘immigrants’− are perceived and to what extent contemporary societies are willing or able to accommodate them, it is by no means a simple, straightforward concept and it therefore requires to be clarified.

← 11 | 12 →The paper starts from a series of assumptions. The first is of a rhetorical nature, i.e. the idea that the way the terms are used determines the way ideas are perceived. This is a concern shared by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) who, in its World...

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