Katharina Fritsche

Katharina Fritsche

  • Leuphana University Lüneburg
  • Institute of Communications and Media Culture (IFKM)
Participant in 2013

Phd Projects


Whiteness and heteronormativity – unquestioned normality in the process of self-conception through media

By following Klaus and Lünenborg (2004) revealing membership and participation in society are essentially co-determined through media, the question occurs which issues and facets of human being are perceived as appropriate and normal. The assignment of journalism is to provide information and interpretation about social reality. This creates preconditions for a well working democratic community. Thereby it is necessary, that everyone living in this community is represented in some way, able to speak and to be heard. What this society identifies with and what is socially desirable becomes notably clear when media focus on the “Others”. Meanwhile they tell a lot about the self – concerning dominance structures, definatory power and the (self)positioning of the supposed mainstream society. Particularly in news about migrants and other marginalised people and their everyday experiences it’s obvious that the existance of racism and sexism is mostly denied, isn’t perceived happening – presumably because of the relative dominance of white and male native German people. Their perspective of society is almost unquestioned in mainstream media, inviolable, and is also conducting the agenda of media and politics. To analyse this hegemonial perspective of media while exploring society the PhD project on the one hand will focus on three media discourses to work out the perspective of the speakers, and what is understood by German self-conception. On the other hand 10 to 15 personal interviews with media recipients will work out how they station themselves in society and how they understand and receive newspapers and television news. Theoretical basis is research and philosophy of Postcolonial Studies (e.g. Spivak 2008, Guitèrrez Rodrìguez 2008)), Critical Studies of Whiteness and Critical Occidentalism (e.g. Amesberger/Halbmayr 2008, Dietze 2009, Lorey 2009), and Gender Media Studies (e.g. Klaus 2005, Krüger-Portratz 2007). One of the three media discourses to be analysed will be the recent n-word debate which took place in January 2013, when plenty of journalists, politicians and also ordinary people discussed in a very ignorant and eurocentric way the necessity of keeping the n-word in children’s books and also everyday life. The two main grounds to support this position were the right to freedom of expression and that the use of the n-word itself is not supposed to be discriminating against. The say of people of colour, who argued that they feel offended by hearing this particular expression, was mostly wiped off and ignored. To explore, what the recurring topoi in all the discourses about migrants are – racism and sexism – it’s necessary to reveal the common understanding of shared and most widely accepted values and beliefs. Only if someone is certain about this, one can understand what media tell us – and finally be part of society at all. A lot of research has been done about the representation of migrants and women (e.g. Geißler/Pöttker 2005, 2006, 2009; Lüneborg/Fritsche/Bach 2011), their media menu (e.g. Weiß/Trebbe 2001), the necessities of social inclusion and equality as well as how journalism could support their participation and avoid biased reporting. But in the end it’s not sufficient to look at the “Others” and tell them how to behave, the crucial point is within society itself and its media. Fair, including and plural news should be aimed for. Therefore a reversal of research perspectives appears to be productive. References Amesberger, Helga/Halbmayr, Brigitte (2008): Das Privileg der Unsichtbarkeit. Rassismus unter dem Blickwinkel von Weißsein und Dominanzkultur. Wien: Braumüller. Dietze, Gabriele (2009): Critical Whiteness Theory und Kritischer Okzidentalismus. Zwei Figuren hegemonialer Selbstreflexion. In: Martina Tißberger/Gabriele Dietze/Daniela Hrzán/Jana Husmann-Kastein (Hg.): Weiß - Weißsein - Whiteness. Kritische Studien zu Gender und Rassismus. Bern: Lang, S. 219-247. Geißler, Rainer/Pöttker, Horst (Hg.) (2005): Massenmedien und die Integration ethnischer Minderheiten in Deutschland. Problemaufriss - Forschungsstand - Bibliographie (Medienumbrüche 9). Bielefeld: transcript. Geißler, Rainer/Pöttker, Horst (Hg.) (2006): Integration durch Massenmedien. Medien und Migration im internationalen Vergleich. Mass media-integration: media and migration: a comparative perspective (Medienumbrüche 17). Bielefeld: transcript. Geißler, Rainer/Pöttker, Horst (Hg.) (2009): Massenmedien und die Integration ethnischer Minderheiten in Deutschland. Band 2: Forschungsbefunde (Medienumbrüche 30). Bielefeld: transcript. Gutiérrez Rodríguez, Encarnación (2008): Postkolonialismus: Subjektivität, Rassismus und Geschlecht. In: Ruth Becker/Beate Kortendiek (Hg.): Handbuch Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung. Theorie, Methoden, Empirie. Wiesbaden: VS, S. 267-275. Klaus, Elisabeth (2005): Kommunikationswissenschaftliche Geschlechterforschung. Zur Bedeutung der Frauen in den Massenmedien und im Journalismus (Medien- und Geschlechterforschung 7). Aktualisierte und korrigierte Neuauflage. Münster: LIT. Klaus, Elisabeth/Lünenborg, Margreth/ (2004): Cultural Citizenship. Ein kommunikationswissenschaftliches Konzept zur Bestimmung kultureller Teilhabe in der Mediengesellschaft. Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft 52/2, S. 193-213. Krüger-Potratz, Marianne (2007): Geschlechteraspekte bei Migration und Integration. Ergebnisse interkultureller Ethnizitäts- und Genderforschung. In: MGFFI NRW (Hg.): Demografischer Wandel. Die Stadt, die Frauen und die Zukunft. Düsseldorf, S. 451-467. Lorey, Isabell (2009): Der weiße Körper als feministischer Fetisch. In: Martina Tißberger/Gabriele Dietze/Daniela Hrzán/Jana Husmann-Kastein (Hg.): Weiß - Weißsein - Whiteness. Kritische Studien zu Gender und Rassismus. Bern: Lang, S. 61-83. Lünenborg, Margreth/Fritsche, Katharina/Bach, Annika (2011): Migrantinnen in den Medien. Darstellung in der Presse und ihre Rezeption. Bielefeld: transcript. Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (2008): Can the subaltern speak? Postkolonialität und subalterne Artikulation. Wien: Turia & Kant. Weiß, Hans-Jürgen/Trebbe, Joachim (2001): Mediennutzung und Integration der türkischen Bevölkerung in Deutschland. Ergebnisse einer Umfrage des Presse- und Informationsamtes der Bundesregierung. Unter Mitarbeit von Torsten Maurer und Jens Vogelgesang. GöfaK Medienforschung GmbH (Hg.). Potsdam.

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