«A Comparative Case Study of North Rhine-Westphalia (Germany) and Ireland by Melanie Liese B.A. School of Applied Languages and Intercultural Studies ...»
In conclusion, even though textbook readers are directly made aware of ethnic and cultural diversity in a very few instances within a text and/ or an image and/ or through a question relating to the text, the prevalent approach to representing the ethnic and cultural „other‟ in the Irish textbooks examined is one which is integrative in nature and which conveys ethnic and cultural diversity to be a societal normality.
Comparison of Analyses
7.1 Introduction In Chapters 5 and 6 the question of how the ethnic and cultural „other‟ is portrayed in textbooks, in the case of North Rhine-Westphalia and Ireland respectively, has been explored. It is therefore appropriate now to compare the findings of both analyses and to establish any similarities and/ or differences of representation between both contexts.
7.2 Similarities in Representation
As the analyses show, the ethnic and cultural „other‟ has been represented in both the textbooks examined in North Rhine-Westphalia and Ireland. Therefore the ethnic and cultural diversity of both societies, demonstrated in Chapter 1, is reflected.
In Chapter 4 of this study, three main categories of representation were identified as a result of the preliminary analysis. Accordingly, in Category A the ethnic and cultural „other‟ is presented within the context of the respective country while in Category B the „other‟ is presented outside of that context. Category C includes general songs and poems discussing difference and promoting such notions as tolerance and peace. The analyses have shown that all categories are represented in both contexts. However, as this study focuses on the ethnic and cultural „other‟ within the context of North Rhine-Westphalia and Ireland, Category A has been the main focus for the sequel of the study. Using a combination of CDA, TDA and categorisation techniques, outlined in the studies reviewed, the analysis of texts selected for Category A, particularly in the case of North Rhine-Westphalia, consequently identified nine sub-categories based on the manner of representation of the ethnic and cultural „other‟ in the examined texts (see Chapter 4).
The nine sub-categories are: 1. Origin, 2. Language, 3. Skin Colour, 4. Religious Difference, 5. Hostility, 6. Questions of Identity, 7. The „Other‟ in Need, 8.
Stereotypes and 9. The Integrated „Other‟.
In the case of North Rhine-Westphalia texts have emerged under all nine categories.
Although a small number of texts were identified under the third, fourth, seventh and ninth sub-category in the case of Ireland, the number of texts was not sufficient for a categorisation.
In both cases texts that show empathy towards the ethnic and cultural „other‟ were identified. For example, in the case of North Rhine-Westphalia, Nina, in “Faschingshexe Nina” [Carnival-Witch Nina] (Lollipop Lesebuch 3, pp.114-115, Appendix B, p.XVII) shows empathy to the ethnic and cultural „other‟ Tea, who does not have a costume for the carnival celebrations as her parents are poor (ibid, p.114). Similarly in the Irish case, the story of “Basia‟s Birthday Present” (Giants, Fishbones and Chocolate, pp.18-21, Appendix C, p.X-XI)” evokes empathy from readers towards refugees, particularly when readers are invited to think about the reasons behind somebody becoming a refugee (Giants, Fishbones and Chocolate Skills Book, p.23).
Furthermore, images and/or names, presuming to refer to the ethnic and cultural „other‟ but without any direct reference to ethnic or cultural origins in the text and/ or an illustration, were identified in many texts and illustrations in both contexts.
These show the ethnic and cultural „other‟ as accepted and a “normal” part of society.
7.3 Differences of Representation Having established the similarities in representation above, this section will explore the differences in relation to the portrayal of the ethnic and cultural „other‟ in the texts examined for North Rhine-Westphalia and Ireland.
7.3.1 Approach to Representation – North Rhine-Westphalia The main difference identified in the representation of the ethnic and cultural „other‟ is the approach. As a result of the analyses it can be said, that the approach used to represent the „other‟ in North Rhine-Westphalia is often explicit in the sense that difference between the German majority and the ethnic and cultural minority is overtly constructed within a text. This construction of difference is sometimes further emphasised through accompanying images.
As the analysis has shown, in this explicit approach, difference is constructed through directly referring to the origin, language, skin colour, culture or tradition of an ethnic and cultural „other‟. The main function of such a reference is to distinguish between the ethnic and cultural „other‟ and the majority in North Rhine-Westphalia thereby creating a setting of “we” and “they”.
Furthermore, as a result of analysing the texts certain themes have appeared, which characterise the representation of the ethnic and cultural „other‟ in the textbooks examined for North Rhine-Westphalia. Accordingly, the ethnic and cultural „other‟ in the texts/ and images is often presented as such by referral to their country of origin, as speaking German imperfectly, as presumed to not understand German, as having a different skin colour to the majority, as having a different religious belief to the majority, as experiencing hostility from the majority, as having issues of identity, as being in need or with reference to stereotypes. In some texts the ethnic and cultural „other‟ is marked by a combination of these. Although, some texts include positive references to the „other‟, as for example in the story of “Katharina aus Russland” [Katharina from Russia] (Lollipop Lesebuch 3, pp.72-73, Appendix B, p.XVIII), whereby the „other‟ is seen to successfully learn the German language and is presented as fully integrated at the end of her story, or whereby Uwe in “Uwe findet sich zurecht” [Uwe finds his way around] (Lollipop Lesebuch 3, pp.22-23, see book), is seen to receive praise for his German language skills from his new teacher, many texts portray the „other‟ in a negative sense under the recurring themes outlined.
Apart from the explicit representation of the ethnic and cultural „other‟ in the textbooks examined in North Rhine-Westphalia, under Sub-category 9, many texts and images were seen to display ethnic and cultural diversity without explicitly referring to any particular country of origin, language, skin colour, culture or tradition. As the example of “Julia meldet sich” [Julia raises her hand] (Bausteine Lesebuch 3, p.13, Appendix B, p.I) shows the „other‟ is presented as “normal” in society and is not set apart from the majority under this sub-category.
7.3.2 Approach to Representation – Ireland
In contrast to the approach to representation taken in North Rhine-Westphalia, the approach to presenting the ethnic and cultural „other‟ in textbooks examined in the Irish context, is implicit with most texts implying diversity rather than openly stating it. Here the „other‟ is mainly represented in texts through the inclusion of names that are not typical for Ireland, and/ or images that reflect diversity without having a reference point to any particular ethnic or cultural background. As mentioned earlier, although in a small number of texts, a reference is made to a country of origin, an ethnic background and religious diversity, a categorisation according to themes, like in the case of North Rhine-Westphalia, was not possible.
Many of the texts that emerged in the case of Ireland were extracts from popular children‟s stories. Therefore a brief analysis of the original children‟s stories was carried out in addition to the analysis of extracts that appear in the textbooks examined for Ireland for the purpose of establishing more information about the Irish approach in relation to the representation of the ethnic and cultural „other‟.
Interestingly, it shows that although references, which differentiate the ethnic and cultural „other‟ from the Irish majority, were available in the original children‟s stories, they have not been included in the extracts that appear in the textbooks examined in Ireland. Furthermore, in one instance the characteristic of the main character appear to be different in the textbook extract to the characteristics presented in the original children‟s story. While in the original story, The Angel of Nitshill Road, Celeste is described as having “gold hair [that] shimmered” (Fine 2007b, p.10) and was “gleaming bright” (ibid, p.8), she is portrayed as having dark her and dark skin (Blue Skies Stories and Poetry, p.120, see book) in the textbook extract. This suggests that the textbook publisher perhaps consciously changed the appearance of Celeste in order to portray ethnic and cultural diversity in the textbook.
Having explored the main similarities and differences, the concluding chapter speculates on possible reasons for the different approaches used, explores possible implications and identifies areas for further research.
Conclusions, Implications and Recommendations
8.1 Introduction In relation to the research questions of this study as outlined in Chapter 1, it has been shown that ethnic and cultural diversity is an integral part of both societies in North Rhine-Westphalia and Ireland. Furthermore, the relationship between textbooks as a medium of transferring knowledge as well as norms and values has been explored. In Chapter 2 the framework of this study has been set in relation to the science of textbooks research and other relevant studies that have been conducted, while in Chapter 3 the official educational stance of North Rhine-Westphalia and Ireland respectively in relation to ethnic and cultural diversity has been explored. Chapter 4 explains the methodologies applied and details the resources used for this study.
How the ethnic and cultural „other‟ has been represented in the textbooks examined in both contexts has been outlined in Chapters 5 and 6, while Chapter 7 summarised the similarities as well as the differences. It is therefore appropriate now to draw conclusions, examine the implications of findings and identify areas which merit further exploration.
8.2 Conclusions, Implications and Recommendations
Using a combination of CDA and TDA and considering the normative functions of textbooks, this study has established that the ethnic and cultural „other‟ is presented in the textbooks examined in each case as well as how the „other‟ is portrayed.
Accordingly, two main approaches were identified in relation to the representation of the ethnic and cultural „other‟. While in both cases many texts have emerged which show the image of the ethnic and cultural „other‟ as integrated and not standing out in any particular way, a number of texts were seen to clearly set the migrant apart from the majority in the context of North Rhine-Westphalia. These texts portray the „other‟ explicitly. Here, a direct reference is made to origin, language, skin colour, religion, culture or tradition creating an immediate „we/ they‟ setting and thus separating the ethnic and cultural „other‟ from the majority in North RhineWestphalia.
This differentiation between ethnic and cultural minorities and the German majority has also been the main finding in earlier studies. For example Höhne, Kunz and Radke (2005, p.598), concluded that the ethnic and cultural „other‟ is “durchgängig als eigene Gruppe beschrieben [...], die der „nationalen deutschen Gemeinschaft‟ gegenüber gestellt wird” [consistently described as a separate group, in contrast to that of the „national German community‟], while, for example, Radkau (2004) in her study “Vom Umgang mit Verschiedenheit und Vielfalt. Befunde aus deutschen und US-amerikanischen Schulbüchern” [The Handling of Difference and Diversity.
Findings from German and US-American textbooks]for example points out that this separation is achieved as the „others‟ are referred to as “ausländische Mitbürger” [foreign fellow citizens] as opposed to “Bürger” (ibid, p.307).