More or less desirable citizens : Mediated spaces of identity and cultural citizenship
Based on the concepts of cultural citizenship and media-constructed spaces of identity the article explores how issues of migration, residency and citizenship are discussed in the Austrian press. The authors are interested in two questions: Which spaces of identity does media create for migrants and locals? And which markers of citizenship are used in migration policies? The analysed articles stem from a national quality paper (Der Standard), a very influential boulevard paper (Kronen Zeitung) and one of the major regional newspapers (Salzburger Nachrichten). The analysis focuses on four case studies: Arigona Zogaj and her family were denied permanent residency after having spent many years in Austria. In the only terrorist trial in Austria to date, Mona S. was symbolically excluded from Austrian citizenship. The reporting in these cases is contrasted with those related to two persons in the attention of public nterest– the famous opera singer Anna Netrebko and the actor Christoph Waltz –, who were granted citizenship rights on the grounds of exceptional cultural achievements in the interest of the Austrian nation. The media coverage shows that cultural dimensions of citizenship are used as important indicators for determining the entitlement to permanent residency and citizenship. Belonging to a nation is linked to cultural factors such as wearing the right clothes, behaving properly or speaking the language and having attended an Austrian school. Along these lines migrants are divided into two groups of good and bad foreigners, but issues of power and social hierarchies of gender, race and class are involved here as well. While this holds true for all three papers, the Boulevard press is adhering to an extremely personalized style, while the quality paper is linking the specific cases to the debate on migration policies and laws.
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