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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages and Cultures - German

Undergraduate Course: Migration in German-Language Discourse (ELCG08011)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryLanguage matters. It does not simply reflect an existing reality but rather shapes reality in a way that makes certain actions possible and prohibits (or at least inhibits) others, in the context of given power structures. Discourse analysis is a set of theories and methodologies to trace these social phenomena. In this course, you will learn about discourse analysis and how to apply it to contemporary discourses on migration in the German-speaking countries. Sitting at the intersection between linguistics, social sciences and German studies, this course is ideally suited for students who want to develop a deeper understanding of contemporary German and Austrian society and are interested in the power of language.
Course description Migration is globally discussed as one of the major issues of our time, and it is one of the key words in public debate in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

For centuries, people have migrated into and out of German-speaking countries; 'Gastarbeiter' and the migrants arriving in Germany in the wake of the recent civil war in Syria are two well-known quite recent examples. It is equally well-known that these migration movements were and still are contested in public debates: reactions cover a broad ground, from the celebration of a climate of welcome ('Willkommenskultur') and attempts to integrate the incoming people into society, to expressions of open hostility, xenophobia and violence. So what is exactly is (and what is not) discussed when we talk about migration? How are migrants or migration movements portrayed in newspaper articles and commentaries, on social media, in political speeches, in law, in literature? And how does this portrayal contribute to a public climate that permits actions as diverse as inviting migrants to live with your family to the burning down of refugee hostels?

The course will start with a brief overview of discourse studies as method of academic enquiry, and we will gather a number of different perspectives on migration into and out of the German-speaking countries. Using suitable examples from current or recent debates on migration, we will then model the tools of critical discourse analysis in a step-by-step approach, providing you with the opportunity to learn about and practice some key methods in preparation for your own projects.

The second half of the course will be dedicated to work on your project: working in groups, you will identify an event and a body of texts for closer analysis and apply the knowledge and tools you have acquired to describe and evaluate the discourses presented in these texts. You will gather your information in both independent and group work outside the class room and will be given feedback on your work in our weekly seminar sessions. You will learn how to present the overall findings in a poster; in the final session all groups will present the results of their research in a poster session.

Throughout the course, you will gather examples of the individual steps you have taken as part of your group project, and you will also produce short reflections on this work and the learning process, including problems you encountered during your research and how you solved them; this will form the basis of a portfolio which, together with the group posters, will make up the final assessment of the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites Students MUST also take: German 2 Language (ELCG08008)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesStudents should have German language skills at CEFR level B1 or above; entry to this course may be subject to a language test on arrival and is at the discretion of the course organiser. Visiting Students should also take as a co-requisite German 2 Language (ELCG08008).
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2019/20, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  18
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 76 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% coursework (portfolio of evidence tracing select steps and individual contributions to the group project - e.g., analysis of specific articles or social media postings - as well as reflections on the learning process; approx. 2,300 words in total: 80%; group poster: 20%)
Feedback Feedback on the portfolio components and poster elements will be given in seminar sessions during the second half of the course, before final submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically evaluate meaning making processes in German language discourse, and construct clear and coherent arguments about (select) migration discourses in their political and social context
  2. Assess the usefulness of discourse analytical approaches to understanding public debates on migration and select and apply tools that are appropriate for the analysis of a chosen body of texts
  3. Present the results of research undertaken individually and as part of a small group, respond judiciously to such research undertaken by others, and critically evaluate the importance of such material for an understanding of the key themes of the course
  4. Work effectively as part of a group, managing group interactions and division of tasks in pursuit of a common aim
  5. Critically reflect on their learning process
Reading List

Angermuller, Johannes, Maingeueneau, Dominique and Wodak, Ruth, 'The Discourse Studies Reader. An introduction', in Johannes Angermuller, Dominique Maingeueneau, Ruth Wodak (eds.), The Discourse Studies Reader. Main currents in theory and analysis. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2014, pp. 1-14

Bendel Larcher, Sylvia, Linguistische Diskursanalyse: Ein Lehr- und Arbeitsbuch, Tübingen: Narr Francke Attempo, 2015

Machin, David and Mayr, Andrew, How to do Critical Discourse Analysis, London: Sage, 2012

In addition, students will be provided with a reader of select sources.


Hoerder, Dirk, Geschichte der deutschen Migration. Vom Mittelalter bis heute. Munich: C.H. Beck, 2010

Van Leeuwen, Theo, 'The Visual Representation of Social Actors', in Theo Van Leeuwen (ed.), Discourse and Practice: New Tools for Critical Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, pp. 137-148.

Wodak, Ruth, 'Language, power and identity', in Language Teaching 45:2 (2012), pp. 215-233

Further Reading

Arendt, Hannah, Wir Flüchtlinge. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1986

Czollek, Max, Desintegriert Euch! Munich: Hanser, 2018

Münkler, Herfried and Münkler, Marina, Die neuen Deutschen. Ein Land vor seiner Zukunft. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 2017
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills During this course, students will further develop graduate attributes, personal and professional skills in the following areas:

Research and enquiry: Problem solving; analytical thinking; critical thinking; knowledge integration and application; handling complexity and ambiguity.
Personal and intellectual autonomy: Self-awareness and reflection; independent learning and development; creative and inventive thinking.
Personal effectiveness: Planning, organising and time management; team working; assertiveness and confidence; flexibility.
Communication: Interpersonal skills, verbal and written communication, presentation, IT skills.
KeywordsGerman,migration,language,discourse analysis
Course organiserDr Sabine Rolle
Tel: (0131 6)50 3670
Course secretaryMiss Gillian Paterson
Tel: (0131 6)50 3646
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