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Stereotypes, Ideology and Foreign Correspondents

German Media Representations of Ireland, 1946–2010

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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 5. ‘Nowhere is Europe so American as in Ireland’: Ireland in "Der Spiegel" and "Die Zeit", 1994–2010

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Chapter 5 ‘Nowhere is Europe so American as in Ireland’: Ireland in Der Spiegel and Die Zeit, 1994–2010 Germany and Ireland, 1994–2010: The Social and Cultural Context While the most severe costs of German unification were probably social and cultural, the actual financial costs were also, of course, substantial.1 The early 1990s were, thus, an especially difficult economic period for the new German state. After sixteen years in power, the CDU/CSU and FDP coalition government was replaced by a SPD and Green coalition in 1998. According to economist Michael Grömling, this initial period of social democratic and Green government was marked by business restructuring in Germany, as well as being a time of macroeconomic ‘stable and upward sloping development’, followed however by stagnation from 2001 to 2004.2 2006 marks, he believes, the beginning of a period of ‘extraordinary eco- nomic growth’ in Germany, not least due to the European Monetary Union and the introduction of the Euro in 2002, which placed Germany in a very strong economic position within the Union, easing greatly the costs of exporting goods to Germany’s chief markets in Europe, and lowering interest rates.3 1 See here: Uwe Anderson, ‘Finanzierung der Einheit’, in: Werner Weidenfeld and Karl-Rudolf Korte, eds, Handbuch zur deutschen Einheit 1949–1989–1999, 368–83. 2 See here: Michael Grömling, ‘Economic Change in Germany since 1989’, in: Niamh O’Mahony and Claire O’Reilly, eds, Societies in Transition: Ireland, Germany and Irish-German Relations in Business and Society since 1989, 65–93,...

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