Melanie Hackenfort and Marion Steinicke
Based on a dynamic, cultural-constructivist understanding of language and a multistage/ multi-level methodological approach of discourse semantics, this contribution analyzes a section of selected texts concerning the migration discourse. In this context, the controversial term Leitkultur is given special emphasis. It turns out that within political discourse this term is closely linked to self-positioning and positioning others.
Economic cooperation between the US and Kenya has reflected the ups and downs in the relations between the two countries. Since independence, both countries have converged on security issues and diverged on questions of democracy and human rights. When Barack Obama was elected as the President of the US, Kenya expected to get an “Obama bonus” in the form of closer trade and investment cooperation. This article analyzes what is the image of US–Kenya economic relations in the news discourse. The analysis reveals that three different and competing narratives are present in the news discourse in Kenya. The US disseminates a narrative that economy, security, good governance and human resources are four interconnected and mutually reinforcing pillars of African development; Kenya must make progress in all these four pillars, and the US is ready to help Kenya. Kenyan leaders seem to internalize the economic part of the narrative and accept the nexus between economy and security, but they reject the nexus between economy and political issues. Finally, the Kenyan society internalizes both these narratives, albeit to a different degree, with the latter prevailing over the former. However, it also produces its own narrative, which presents current US–Kenya economic relations in a different perspective. The whole US engagement in Kenya hardly goes beyond the symbolical level. It is driven by US economic interests and competition with China, while there is no “Obama bonus” for Kenya.
In the 20th century, the two world wars reshaped the map of Central Europe as well as the status of Central Europe’s diverse societies. In my article, I focus on the Hungarian and German minorities in Slovakia and the representation of their problematic historical past in contemporary Slovak museums. More specifically, I zoom in on the exhibition Exchanged Homes displayed in Bratislava, which aims to commemorate the fate of Hungarians, Germans, and Slovaks, all of whom were affected by the population transfers after World War II. Based on the concept of memorial museums theorized by Paul Williams, I aim to show how the different exhibitions engage with the traumatic past of forceful resettlement. By offering multifaceted memories of a troubled past, these exhibitions avoid categorizing “victims” and “perpetrators” along national or ethnic lines. My paper thus analyzes the concepts and components of the exhibitions—the context of the postwar events, oral history interviews, and objects of everyday use that should bring the visitor closer to the experience of the people who were forced to leave. I argue that exhibitions of this sort have the ability to challenge the dominant historical narrative focusing on a national “Slovak” history and help the process of reconciliation between the Slovak majority society, and the Hungarian and German minorities.
This study presents a content and qualitative discourse analysis of readers’ comments made on Czech journalism on sociopolitical topics published in Russian translation at InoSMI.ru. Following the tradition of ethnomethodology, which examines the formation of subjective views of the world from the viewpoint of the general population, the interpretation of the examined discourse focuses on analyzing the verbal attitudes of regular Russian readers of political journalism toward the opinions of the Czech public on the current-day Russia and toward Czechs and the Czech Republic in general. Specifically, the study examined the expressions of intolerance toward the opinions of others and linguistic aggression on the part of the Russian-speaking commenters toward the authors of critical Czech journalism as natural and instinctive dismissive reactions to “different” or hostile language and cultural and ideological expressions. The study is based on language data acquired by analyzing readers’ comments left on a total of 45 Russian translations of Czech journalistic writings published between January and September 2016 on 12 different Czech websites. The qualitative, critical analysis of the linguistic material is based on a sociocognitive approach, which assumes a dialectical relationship between the discourse and society operating through cognitive structures (knowledge and ideology). The aim of this study was to highlight the negative aspects of unsanctioned public sociopolitical discourse, which is currently made possible and accelerated by technology advances of the Internet network and, at a time of a de facto information war, contributes to the spread of negativistic and hostile attitudes and sentiments, rather than to a genuine intercultural dialog.