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Die diskursive Konstruktion vom Feind in der SED-Sprache. Eine linguistische Diskursanalyse.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Slavic and Baltic Studies, Finish, Dutch and German.
2015 (German)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]


The aim of this study is to investigate the enemy concept (das Feindbild) in the political language (die SED-Sprache) using a Critical Discourse Analysis methodology, in order to understand how the enemy concept was used in the political communication by the rulers in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). This linguistic study is focused on argumentation strategies, what kind of pragmatic implications and allusions that was used and how actors and events were characterized. The political rhetoric, an important power tool, has been investigated in the daily newspaper Neues Deutschland, which was controlled by the ruling Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED). Three important events in the history of the GDR have been studied: the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, the expatriation of the black-listed poet Wolf Biermann in 1976 and the strike actions in Poland in 1980. The analytical methods developed by Ruth Wodak et al. have been used in this study. Mainly three different enemy concepts have been identified: The Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), an external enemy, is accused of robbing the GDR of its citizens and having threatened to attack the GDR and to start a civil war (Bürgerkrieg). The decision by the GDR to build the Wall was therefore an act of keeping the peace in Europe and protecting the nation (antifaschistischer Schutzwall). The enemies are described with pejorative attributes like headhunters (Kopfjäger) and warmongers (Kriegstreiber). It has also been investigated how the rhetoric was changed 25 years after the building of the Wall. Wolf Biermann’s protests are described as attacks (Angriffe) by an inside enemy (Klassenfeind) and he allegedly took part in an anti-communist propaganda initiated by the FRG. The expatriation is supported by a great amount of letters to the editor of Neues Deutschland and many of these letters are also supporting a stricter political attitude towards the role of the artists in a socialistic society, initiated by the government. The communication of the strike actions in Poland is more cautious – a strike by workers was officially not possible in a socialistic society. At the beginning of the protests, it is communicated that anti-communist enemies (antikommunistische Kräfte) must be the force behind these activities – but this enemy concept is later changed after an agreement is reached between the workers and the government of Poland. The study has shown that a sophisticated, target oriented, diversified rhetoric from several perspectives can be found behind the enemy concept in the investigated texts. The argumentation strategies are supported by a multitude of rhetorical means.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 52 p.
Keyword [de]
Das Feindbild, die SED-Sprache, linguistische Diskursanalyse, Neues Deutschland, kritische Diskursanalyse, Leserbriefe, DDR, Argumentationsstrategien
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-117803OAI: diva2:815838
Available from: 2015-08-01 Created: 2015-06-02 Last updated: 2015-08-01Bibliographically approved

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