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The Representation of the Ethnic and Cultural 'Other' in Primary School Textboooks: A Comparative Case Study of North Rhine Westphalia (Germany) and Ireland

Liese, Melanie (2010) The Representation of the Ethnic and Cultural 'Other' in Primary School Textboooks: A Comparative Case Study of North Rhine Westphalia (Germany) and Ireland. Master of Arts thesis, Dublin City University.

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This study examines and compares the representation of the ethnic and cultural ‘other’ in primary school textbooks in North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany), which has an established immigration history, and Ireland, where immigration is as a relatively new phenomenon. As a result of increased migration over the last decade, societies in both contexts have become more ethnically and culturally diverse. For this purpose, this study examines textbooks that are used in third and fourth grade for the subject of German in North Rhine-Westphalia and for the subject of English in Ireland. This study explores how teaching and learning materials can represent diversity to their users. It asks whether the increased ethnic and cultural diversity in North Rhine-Westphalia and Ireland is reflected in primary school textbooks in each context. Using a combination of Critical Discourse Analysis and Thematic Discourse Analysis and considering the normative functions of textbooks, this study aims to determines the specific ways in which the ethnic or cultural ‘other’ is presented and establishes the differences and similarities of representation between both contexts. The analysis finds that textbooks in North Rhine-Westphalia and Ireland each engage with the topic of ethnic and cultural diversity. However, their approaches to representation differ greatly. In the German textbooks the ‘other’ is often explicitly defined in the text or an accompanying image and a clear divide between the majority and the minority of society is frequently emphasised. In contrast, in the Irish case, the textbooks tend to present the ethnic and cultural ‘other’ implicitly as a ‘normal’ part of society. However, representation of the ‘other’ within an Irish context is quite infrequent. The reasons for/ and implications of this are explored in the final chapter.

Item Type:Thesis (Master of Arts)
Date of Award:2010
Supervisor(s):Leahy, Angela
Subjects:Humanities > Culture
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:15740
Deposited On:05 Apr 2011 11:01 by Angela Leahy. Last Modified 05 Apr 2011 11:01

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