Multicultural Racism and the Production of the Ausländer in German Political Discourse 1994-2002

Zacharias, Thomas. 2014. Multicultural Racism and the Production of the Ausländer in German Political Discourse 1994-2002. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This thesis represents an attempt to think through the ways in which cultural
diversity is conceptualised and articulated through discourses of ‘multiculturalism’ in
contemporary Germany. It focuses on a period of significant political transformation
during the 1990s through which issues of immigration, integration and cultural
diversity emerged as central topics in political debate.

The thesis uses a range of empirical and conceptual tools such as critical discourse
analysis and semiotic analysis to investigate the visual and textual political discourses
of two political parties: the right-wing party CDU/CSU and the left-wing Green party.
It argues that the political discourses produced by the parties - framed by the notion
of ‘multiculturalism’ - variously produce, and re-produce, static notions of culture and
essentialist modes of belonging. My analysis intends to show that the discourses
through which the parties address cultural diversity in Germany are linked in
complex ways to Germany’s fascist past. They are characterised by an avoidance of
critical engagement with the issue of racism, and they perpetuate an understanding of
identity as fixed and unchangeable. I argue that both left- and right-wing political
discourse facilitates the marginalisation and racialisation of Germany’s ‘ethnic

The final section of the thesis considers the way in which these political discourses
are contested by grassroots ‘ethnic minority’ activists. I argue that these counterdiscourses
provide an effective critique of the positions outlined by the political
parties. The thesis argues that these creative interventions by individuals and groups
hitherto constructed as different and as not belonging to Germany provide an
effective critique of the discourse generated by the political parties - they offer a more
productive way of thinking about contemporary multiculture in Germany today.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):

Additional Information:

Awaiting electronic version of thesis. Printed thesis available in Goldsmiths College Library for reference only.


‘Race’, racism, multiculturalism, Germany, diversity, discourse

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



31 August 2014

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

19 Dec 2017 17:04

Last Modified:

28 Jan 2020 14:35


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