Media and the Intersectional Other: The Complex Negotiation of Migration, Gender, and Class on German Television

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Margreth Lünenborg, Elfriede Fürsich – 2014

This article presents the findings of an intersectional study on migrant women on German television. Besides content and textual analyses, we conducted focus groups with audiences and interviews with migrant media workers. As the representation of Others was explored through the nodes of production, consumption, and identity, a complicated intersectional practice emerged. We found the televised representations of migrant women to be dominated by (often veiled) women as signifiers of non-integration but also by instances when gendered ethnicity was used as a marketable attribute. The audiences and producers employed various distancing strategies: they criticized specific programs for blatant stereotyping as much as didactic counter-stereotyping while downplaying systemic shortfalls of the coverage. These distancing strategies were intensified by the acceptance of individualized ideologies of success and commodified logics of media production. Ultimately, class appeared as the central demarcating category. On German television a problematic class distinction was articulated through ethnic and gender difference. Female migrants were often “othered” as lower-class. This class discourse absolved middle-class viewers and media workers from engaging in the systemic struggles over female/migrant identities, thus undermining the potential for gender and migrant solidarity and for the dynamic creation of cultural citizenship as a mode of belonging

Title
Media and the Intersectional Other: The Complex Negotiation of Migration, Gender, and Class on German Television
Author
Margreth Lünenborg, Elfriede Fürsich
Publisher
Routledge Taylor & Francis Group
Date
2014
Identifier
DOI: 10.1080/14680777.2014.882857
Appeared in
Feminist Media Studies
Language
eng
Type
Text