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Wolverhampton Intellectual Repository and E-Theses > Research Institutes > History and Governance Research Institute > Europe: Trend and Transformation Research Group > Looking across the river: German-Polish border communities and the construction of the Other

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2436/27100
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Title: Looking across the river: German-Polish border communities and the construction of the Other
Authors: Galasinski, Dariusz
Meinhof, Ulrike Hanna
Citation: Journal of Language and Politics, 1(1): 23-58
Publisher: Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company
Journal: Journal of Language and Politics
Issue Date: 2002
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2436/27100
DOI: 10.1075/jlp.1.1.05gal
Additional Links: http://www.benjamins.com/cgi-bin/t_articles.cgi?bookid=JLP%201%3A1&artid=573018445
http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/jbp/jlp/2002/00000001/00000001/art00004
Abstract: The paper reports results of an ongoing ESRC-funded project into constructions of identity in German and Polish border communities. We are interested here in how our informants from different generations position themselves and their communities with regard to those on the other side of the river. The data come from a set of semi-structured interviews conducted in the towns of Guben (Germany) and Gubin (Poland) separated by the river Neisse, with some reference to the data elicited in the similarly split communities on the former East West German border on the Saale. For the people living in our target communities, the official narratives of the nation were re-written not just once, but in the case of the older generation at least three times. This meant a challenge of how to construct their own cultural identity in response to official changes and in relation to oppositional constructions of the nation on the other side of the border literally by ‘looking across’ at the Other in their every-day lives. In this paper we discuss how members of the oldest generation living on both sides of the river Neisse in the respective German and Polish towns of Guben and Gubin construct each other in their discourses. We show that the discourses of the Other are ridden by a mismatch in the constructions of the ownership of the past and the present. While the Polish narratives construct the German neighbours in terms of threat to the present status quo of the town, the German narratives position Gubin mostly in terms of the nostalgic past. (John Benjamins)
Type: Article
Language: en
Keywords: Germany
European Union
Poland
Ethnography
Ethnic identity
Cultural identity
Ethnic Other
Guben
Border communities
Gubin
Ethnicity
Nationality
Cultural history
Polishness
Appears in Collections: Europe: Trend and Transformation Research Group

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