Media as an Identity Resource for German Speaking Minorities in Belgium and Poland (2014)

Participant: Dr. Verena Molitor (Bielefeld University, CGES)

The interdisciplinary research project, combining sociology, socio-linguistic methods and media research deals with the production of identities and belongings within the German (-speaking) minorities in Belgium and Poland. The focus lies here on radio stations broadcasting in German and investigates the questions which function the stations have with regard to the representation of the ‘German’ minority and how Germany and Belgium/Poland are presented in their programmes. Both in Belgium and in Poland people coexist, who belong to differently identified German minorities – either on the level of ethnicity or on the level of language or cultural belonging and self-ascription. In the Eastern part of Belgium approximately 70.000 people speak German as a mother tongue. In Poland, especially in the voivodships Silesia and Opole, there are approximately 200.000 people belonging to the German minority. Regarding the radio stations as an object of study, German as language of broadcasting is of momentous significance. Due to programme planning, a strong belonging to their own minority and to the tradition is discovered in the group. The main focus of the research project lies on the comparison of the two cases with regard to the different structures in the medial representation of regional identities. Taking into consideration two exemplary German speaking minorities, research contributes to the theoretical conceptualization and understanding of the construction of belongings and identities through media.In June 2014 further interviews were conducted during the research trip to Olsztyn with the representatives of the minority radio ‘Allensteiner Welle’. The research resulted in the monograph by Verena Molitor. Moreover, together with Dr. Chiara Pierobon (Bielefeld University, CGES associate) a Special Issue of the InterDisciplines Journal ‘Identities in media and music. Case-studies from (trans)national, regional, and local communities’ was edited.

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