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

Dietmar Rost


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


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


Copyright (c) 2004 Dietmar Rost

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