The Making of the "Brandenburgers". A Case Study of Regional Television and Its Efforts to Shape Regional Identity by Using History


  • Dietmar Rost Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen



media research, television, regionalization, collective identity, politics of history, German federal states, Brandenburg, cultural studies


In the public discussion it is often recommended that all German federal states—the "old" ones from West Germany as well as the "new" ones from East Germany—should take care of their own identity and work on developing it. Deficits of identity are individuated and politics of identity pursued. Thus from the social science perspective, questions regarding the current efforts of shaping identity arise. One of the questions addresses how these efforts treat problems and dangers which many social scientists regard as closely linked to "imagined communities," for example fixed dichotomies of the "native" and the "foreign." This article addresses such questions in the context of an interpretative analysis of a TV-documentary on regional history produced by the Ostdeutscher Rundfunk Brandenburg. In the process, it also examines the current boom in the central theme of history on television. On the one hand, the documentary studied here shows clear efforts to represent the federal state of Brandenburg in a careful and reflexive way. On the other hand, it exposes problems of identity constructions since it is based on a one-dimensional focus, which is not in accordance with what is often proposed as multiple identity. The theory and methods of the study are guided by media analysis developed by Stuart HALL. It takes a product and text analytical perspective, asking, among other things, for "preferred readings" inherent to the documentary. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0402185


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Author Biography

Dietmar Rost, Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen

Dietmar ROST, Dr. rer.pol, M.A., Studium von Soziologie, Sozialanthropologie und Psychologie, wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter am Lehrstuhl für Allgemeine Soziologie der Universität Potsdam im von der Volkswagen-Stiftung geförderten Forschungsprojekt "Neue regionale Identitäten und strategischer Essentialismus". Zuvor qualitative Forschung zur Entwicklung der Treuhandanstalt und Feldforschungen zu lokalen, regionalen und nationalen Identitätsvorstellungen und Sozialgeschichte in Sardinien. Weiteres Arbeitsgebiet: Soziologische Theorie. Publikationen: Gesellschaftsbilder in Sardinien. Münster: LIT, 2000. In FQS wurde bisher bereits ein Rezensionsaufsatz zur Kritik des Begriffes kollektive Identität ( veröffentlicht.



How to Cite

Rost, D. (2004). The Making of the "Brandenburgers". A Case Study of Regional Television and Its Efforts to Shape Regional Identity by Using History. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 5(2).