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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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Chapter 1. The Semantics and Syntax of Journalistic Articles of “Other” Cultures: Stereotypes and Ideological Narrative Meaning


Chapter 1 The Semantics and Syntax of Journalistic Articles of “Other” Cultures: Stereotypes and Ideological Narrative Meaning In the 1996 hit single ‘Stereotypes’, the British pop band Blur intersperse character-based images of suburban life – marked by sexual frustration – with a chorus that states: ‘Yes, they’re stereotypes / There must be more to life / All your life you’re dreaming / Then you stop dreaming / From time to time you know you should be / Going on another bender’.1 The chorus lyrics, it could be argued, retain here a complexity and poignancy as they self-referentially expose the preceding images as stereotypes; here appearing to mean a simplified, hackneyed version of lived reality. The poignancy lies in the fact that the characters actually appear to realize that they are “trapped” in a stereotyped suburban existence, and feel the need to escape from this through the use of alcohol. The song also shows, more importantly for our purposes, that the term stereotype itself has established a position within popular culture as an expression that encapsulates a certain type of generalization linked to actual lived existence, and depictions of this existence. It also emphasizes again how negatively the term is generally perceived; stereotypes are seen as something problematic, to be avoided. The study of stereotypes has been undertaken within several academic disciplines, ranging from psychology to cultural studies and anthropology.2 1 See here: , accessed 18 July 2014. 2 For a good overview of the various approaches to stereotype research in the Anglo- German...

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