Identity or identities around (re)unification: An analysis of the rhetoric in East and West German newspapers.
AuthorGilliar, Beate Cacilia.
Committee ChairMiller, Thomas P.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe dissertation presents a critical analysis of the political rhetoric of newspaper articles in the East German Neues Deutschland and the West German Die Zeit that relate directly to the public attitudes to reunification. The dissertation includes rhetorical analyses of articles from the two newspapers between October 1989 and October 1990. The analysis also includes personal interviews of East and West Germans held during that period and the broader historical developments that led up to unification. These analyses offer insights into how mass media represent broad political developments in light of contrasting political ideologies and purposes. Historical events have made German identity problematic. The events of the Second World War have only exacerbated the problems. The conflict of ideologies between East and West present an excellent opportunity for assessing how dramatically different ideologies shape public discourse. The historical dynamics of German identity present a powerful example of how public identities are constructed and reconstituted with changes in political conditions. Rhetoric can contribute to an understanding of these political processes by shedding light on how strategies for representation and persuasion are used to shape public opinion. By using rhetoric and hermeneutics as methods of inquiry, we will explore how the East German Neues Deutschland and the West German Die Zeit advanced social emancipation. The communicative analysis of definition, metaphor, and symbol showed how the newspapers gradually helped shape unification into a process that confirmed such social emancipation. Definition tried to reestablish order after the initial euphoria among Germans. Metaphor outlined how the newspaper provided options for people's empowerment. The symbol completed the process of emancipation by directing negotiations of values between East and West Germany.