The End of Tolerance? ‘Race’, Sex, Violence and Islamophobia in Germany’s Media Discourse on Migration - a Critical Discourse Analysis

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:15
Oral Presentation
Iris WIGGER, Loughborough University, United Kingdom
This research paper's main aim is to reflect on most recent developments in Germany’s media migration discourses and to critically examine the role of media in promoting racist representations of predominantly Muslim migrant men, and the discursive intertwining of racist and sexist patterns of discrimination within media discourses.

Germany’s media have been accused of spreading racist and sexist stereotypes especially of Muslim migrant men, after representing them as major challenge to society. In the wake of the European refugee crisis and Cologne New Year attacks, social controversies surrounding immigration have intensified nationally and internationally, with German media imagery of ‘lecherous refugees threatening German women’ exacerbating public debate. Against this background, my project investigates the intersection of narratives of race, sex, violence and Islamophobia in representations of migrant men in a critical discourse analysis of three German newspapers/a Weekly in 2015-2016, uncovering their racialised, gendered and sexual dimensions and exploring historical connections between Islamophobia, anti-Immigrant sentiment and anti-Black racism.

My main research questions are: 1. How exactly do German print-media write about migrant Muslim men and what role do narratives of race, sex, violence and religion play in their representation? 2. To what extent are the concepts of race and sex linked in perceptions of male Muslim migrants in German media? 3. What does the structure of this discourse tell us about underlying stereotypes and ideologies associated with migrant Muslim men? 4. What is the historical, social, cultural and political context of this discourse and how does it reproduce existing power relations?

This British Academy/Leverhulme funded project is theoretically innovative and advances research. While several studies have focused on representations of migrants in the media, only few have studied intersectionalities of discrimination in them, and even fewer have attempted to look at these in historical context.