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Stereotypes, Ideology and Foreign Correspondents

German Media Representations of Ireland, 1946–2010


Fergal Lenehan

This book examines German media representations of Ireland from 1946 to 2010, from the post-war period to the years of the so-called «Celtic Tiger» and Ireland’s subsequent economic downturn. It charts both the patterns and the inconsistencies in depictions of Ireland in the weekly publications Der Spiegel and Die Zeit, as well as in German cinema.

Cultural stereotypes may be employed in the furthering of a problematic cultural essentialism; however, they may also be used to «play» with readers’ or viewers’ expectations. They may be juxtaposed with newer cultural generalizations, or re-moulded to fit a transformed cultural reality. The representations of Ireland examined in this book are revealed as inherently ideological, consistently locating Ireland outside of an evolving European societal «normalcy». While this is often presented as something highly positive, the book argues that it implicitly places Germany at the centre of Europe and may be viewed as a type of excluding Europeanism.


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This book was, in many ways, a solo effort, researched between seminar preparation and teaching, and written between nappy changing and trips to the playground. Which is not to say that I did not receive any help – both intellectually and emotionally. Thanks to Prof. Dr Jürgen Bolten and Prof. Dr Stefan Strohschneider for making very insightful comments during presentations on my on-going research, as part of the colloquium in Intercultural Studies at the Depatment of German as a Foreign/Second Language and Intercultural Studies of the Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena. Thanks also to Prof. Bolten who agreed to lighten my teaching load for a semester so that I could write (and look after the new baby). I am grateful to Prof. Dr Joachim Schwend, formerly of the University of Leipzig, for his willingness to chat about on-going projects, and for vari- ous kinds of practical support. Gratitude must also be shown to Prof. Dr Dirk Vanderbeke of the English Department at Jena. Thanks also to the two anonymous peer reviewers and to Dr Eamon Maher of the IT Tallaght, the series editor, for their comments. Thanks as well to Dr Luisa Conti, Dr Xun Luo, Yolanda Lopez Garcia and Dr Yeliz Yeldirim-Krannig from the FSU Jena: for help with teaching, intelligent conversations and collective dinners in the Mensa, followed of course by coffee. My wife Kirsti Lenehan has been a rock of support over many years and life and work are, simply, unthinkable without her. My daughters Clara and Rosa continually...

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