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

Participant: Verena Molitor (CGES and Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology)

The research project deals with the German (-speaking) minorities in Belgium and Poland. The focus lies here on radio stations in German language 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 live people belonging to differently articulated (either on the level of ethnicity or on the level of language or cultural belonging and self-ascription) German. In the Eastern part of Belgium approximately 70.000 people speak German as a mother tongue. In Poland live, especially in the voivodships Silesia and Opole, approximately 200.000 people, belonging to the German minority. Given the radio stations as object of study, German as language of broadcasting is of momentous significance. Due to the programme planning, a strong belonging to the own minority and to the tradition of the own group appears. 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.

Results of the research were disseminated:

  • Presentation by Verena Molitor (together with Chiara Pierobon) “The construction of National Identity: theoretical perspectives and empirical findings” during the International PhD-Conference „German and Russian Identities Across Times and Borders” (University of Notre Dame, USA), April 2011.
  • Presentation by Verena Molitor “German as a minority language? – The German-Speaking Radio in Belgium“. During „Language in the Media“ Conference, University of Limerick, Ireland, June 2011
  • Presentation by Verena Molitor “The German Speaking Radio in Silesia (Poland)“, during „RadioEvolution“ Conference from the Radio Research Section of the European Communication Research and Education Association, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal, September 2011.

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