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CULTURAL POLICIES

Perceptions of Germany
Seminar Handout

Section Index


The following notes were produced for a seminar dealing with information and culture; on how national culture and politics are being portrayed and presented in an international context.

Catalog of Questions

  1. How is Germany being seen abroad? ...
  2. Via what Institutions is Germany being perceived? ...
  3. Which Media are taken notice of in foreign countries? ...
  4. In which language are offers of cultural exchange being perceived? ...
  5. How does Germany appear abroad? ...
  6. Is Germany appealing for vacations, investments, studying, cultural engagement?
  7. Which proposals do you have for German Foreign Cultural Politics? ...

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1st Question:
How is Germany being seen abroad? Of what kind is the perception in Europe, North America, the Arab world, in the Far East and in Africa?

There exist various Internet sources for that topic. Following are some examples:

About.com - German Culture Section
http://germanculture.about.com/culture/cultureeurope/germanculture

Cultural German Stereotypes
http://rcswww.urz.tu-dresden.de/~english3/Jana/cultpage.htm
http://deil.lang.uiuc.edu/class.pages/daad95/stereotypes.html
http://www.comune.modena.it/scuole/guidotti/germany4.htm
http://www.do.nw.schule.de/ghges/TEENAGE.htm

concerning German History:
http://www.ushmm.org/ (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)







2nd Question:
Via what Institutions is Germany being perceived? Which role is played by known intermediaries like Goethe Institutes, the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Inter Nationes, DAAD, Schools Abroad?

(The following descriptions are taken from the respective official web sites)

The Goethe-Institutes (http://www.goethe.de)

The Goethe-Institut is a worldwide, non-profit, semi-private organization promoting the German language and culture. It is partially funded by the Foreign Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, http://www.ifa.de)

The Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e.V. (Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations) is active in the field of German foreign cultural politics, sustaining a dialogue with partners in Germany and abroad. This work is geared to promoting peaceful relationships and mutual understanding between cultures and nations by way of international cultural cooperation. The Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen therefore specially focuses on art, the humanities and education in the service of international understanding.

Inter Nationes (http://www.inter-nationes.de)

Inter Nationes is a private, but publicly funded institution for cultural, social and political communication between Germany and foreign countries in the media area. Our aim is to provide information about Germany to roughly 50,000 partners abroad in a objective, realistic and diversified way. The intention is thus to deepen people's understanding of developments in Germany, as well as to facilitate contacts with institutions in our country. The main target groups of Inter Nationes are institutions from the educational and scientific fields, representatives of the media, politics and culture, as well as decision-makers within society.

DAAD - Deutscher Akademischer Auslandsdienst(http://www2.daad.de)

The DAAD is an institution for the promotion of international academic exchanges.

Further Links:

Study Abroad - Auslandsschulen:
http://www.auslandsschulwesen.de

German Culture:
http://www.deutsche-kultur-international.de

Politics - State Dept. / Auswärtiges Amt:
http://www.auswaertiges-amt.government.de

German Embassies:
http://www.germany-info.org







3rd Question:
Which Media are taken notice of in foreign countries? Print Media, abroad broadcasting and cultural events like concerts, theater and lectures?

There are various media related to or originating from Germany which are available throughout the world. While its most known part of history is still Nazi rule, Germany seems to have regained reputation on most fields again. Apart from stereotypes, it is also received through its music (Beethoven), art (painting) and philosophy (Kant, Hegel, ...).

In films, while references to its said history remain (like in the 'Indiana Jones' series, or more recently, in films like 'Schindler's List', 'Apt Pupil', 'La Vita È Bella', 'The Big Lebowski' and 'Saving Private Ryan'), there's also a more positive view of Germany - a differenciation being made between the terms "German" and "Nazi". However, like reactions concerning the recent, right-wing dominated elections in Austria and Switzerland show, there is still some kind of distrust remaining, suspicions arising from concern.

Related Media Sources:
http://germanculture.about.com/culture/cultureeurope/germanculture/library/weekly/mcurrent.htm
http://www.dwelle.de/Welcome.html







4th Question:
In which language are offers of cultural exchange being perceived? In German, English, Spanish - or also in other languages?

The majority of the organizations referred to under Question #2 are still mainly based on German sources, the English sections are usually smaller. Inter Nationes also offers French and Spanish information, while the Goethe Institutes usually use German or English as base language, only rarely resorting to the native language of the country is situated in (like French, Spanish, Turkish or Italian).







5th Question:
How does Germany appear abroad? As a country of high technology, as the land of the "Lederhosen", as a cultural nation?

see Question #1 and Question #6







6th Question:
Is Germany appealing for vacations, investments, studying, cultural engagement?

While this question is quite a controversary one in contemporary political discussions, international estimates seem to be much more positive concerning Germany as a business location; and the foreign perspective seems to be the more objective one.

Studying Abroad:
http://www.studyabroadlinks.com/germany/index.htm

Traveling:
http://travel.yahoo.com/Destinations/europe/countries/germany

Investing in Germany / Business:
http://www.commerceasia.com/germanembassy/eng/ec_bu_sc/invest1.htm
http://www.deloitte.com/tax/news/guides/text/weu/de0698-1.htm
http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/business/com_guides/1999/europe/germany99_01.html

Technology:
http://www.faktenbericht.bmbf.de/english/kap/kapitel1/1_9_3_e.htm







7th Question:
Which proposals do you have for German Foreign Cultural Politics? What do you need from us?

possible points for discussion:

  • How to reach the people

  • What kind of information is to be transmitted?

  • Are newer technologies being supported and used?

  • How to deal with German history?

  • While Germany wants others to be interested in it, does it itself reveal an interest in foreign cultures?




PJK
November 2nd, 1999





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