The role of media in structuring the social representations of Romanian immigrants in Germany

RomThe present article investigates the role played by mass-media in structuring the public discourse regarding the adaptive efforts of the Romanian immigrants in the German cultural space in the European Union and their relation to the host country. The problem of the immigrants from South-East Europe has become one of the main topics of the public discourse. The paper argues that the Romanians’ migration to Germany has certain specific embedded features based on their cultural and historical past and, secondly, on economic motives. The article identifies the German media’s social representation of the Romanian immigrants, in the context of the European cultural identity.

The image profile of the Romanian immigrant in the German media (the media we analysed) is predominantly negative, with a high degree of overlapping the one of the Roma. In this context we appreciate that the social representation of the Romanian immigrant is predominantly negative. This conclusion has a major relevance in two directions at least: the journalistic style was considered balanced generally, for each of the three dimensions we analysed; the social representation of the Roma minority continues to register negative connotations, and those reflect upon other nationalities as well (Romanians, Bulgarians); that kind of social representation continues to be present in other media (social media, TV, various types of printed press/publications) triggering distortions and elements of xenophobia (not only against East-European immigrants, in general, but also other types of immigrants, from other parts of the world). Possible further research based on profound methods of research on the Roma minority in Germany, may bring supplementary information on this topic. At the moment, media transmits and, even more, they amplify that opinion, dominant in the German (and international) public space, especially the virtual one. The image of the Romanian immigrant is negative and mixed up with the one of the Roma minority, as seen above. The opinions contradicting the negative assertions are silent, and they are to be found only in the commentaries of the readers, yet not in the feature articles. The public pressure becomes strong, and the fear to be excluded and unpopular is growing (for example, for the attitude of the Romanian immigrants of the first waves, of those of German descent or of those with high level of education) and they cannot avoid being a subject to beat down on. Therefore, the cultural identity of the Romanians is in jeopardy as well under the existing conditions, the European cultural identity is challenged considerably.

The article was published by the Journal of Media Research vol.9, issue 1[24]/ 2016, pp.99-120

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