Communication Studies


Master of Arts (MA)


Cevil V. Kramer

Primary Subject Area

Mass Communications; Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies


Acculturation theory, Germany, integration debate, News portrayals, social tensions


This Master Thesis deals with the portrayal of social tensions and acculturation perceptions resulting from German integration discourse. Wester, Pleijter, and Renckstorf's (2004) model for interpretative content analysis was applied to examine the portrayal of migrants and integration from three German online magazines. Germany's struggle with its multicultural aspect is described, a history of Germany as a multicultural society is provided, acculturation theory is described, the meaning of integration in Germany is illustrated, perceptions of Germans and foreigners on life in Germany are explored, and the role of the media in the integration discourse is introduced. Results show magazine portrayals of Germany as a functioning pluralistic society with integration deficiencies, in which integration is an important issue. Integration in Germany has a subtle undertone of assimilation, reflected in the view that migrants' are obligated to fulfill requirements that constitute successful integration. Integration problems are acknowledged that have existed in the past, exist today, and disturb the relationship between migrants and Germans. Migrants are blamed for integration problems, while the practice of Islam is causing friction in German society. The debate and images of migrants are portrayed as alienating migrants and leading them to question their understanding of themselves as part of German society.