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"Image of the Turks" in Austria’s cultural memory

Debates in the Austrian media on Turkey’s possible EU membership

Map showing potential entry into the EU
Source: www.wikipedia.de

The Project is sponsored by the Jubiläumsfonds der Österreichischen Nationalbank (Jubilee Fund of the Austrian National Bank).

The Project aims to clarify interactions between the official debate carried on publicly in Austria and the strikingly strong rejection of a possible Turkish EU membership in the Austrian population. Starting point for the research project is the thesis that political debates and media representations involve not only factual political arguments but also socio-cultural factors that have grown up over the years, and that play a significant role in the interpretation and evaluation of the subject.

The project is to be carried out through exact analysis and comprehensive topical and historical contextualization of coverage of the topic in selected Austrian mass media. In a discourse-analytic theoretical framework, conceptual tools will be developed that permit equal analysis of both textual and visual material. The presentation of a wide cross-section of the current debate using discourse strands and their interconnections as well as an analysis of the way they are embedded in the political and media context will produce a thorough historical contextualization, bringing out continuities and gaps in the way the “Turkish element” is represented in Austria.

The method aims at grasping the significance of cultural memory for the process of identity formation and at the same time contributing to the discussion of national and/or European identity. Central strategies for objectifying the emotion-laden “discourses” will be evaluated and will round off the Project.

Project team:
Project Sponsor: Democracy Center Vienna
Project Director: Em. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Manfried Welan
Project Coordinator: Mag.a Gertraud Diendorfer
Project Assistants: Mag.a. Stefanie Mayer, Dr.des Elisabeth Röhrlich

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