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At the Gates of Fortress Europe. Historical and Contemporary Representations of the Neighbouring 'Other' in Eastern Germany and Southern Spain


  • Tina Maria Nebe


The present paper addresses the question how ethnocentrism operates on the local level in two distinct European border cities, how representations of the 'Other' are formed and transformed, and how they structure perceptions of the Self and of everyday life. More specifically, the author investigates in how far we can speak of a continuity or discontinuity of historical prejudice regarding Poles and Moroccans respectively, from the times of nation-building in Germany and Spain to the present. Adopting a historical and comparative perspective, the paper sets out to understand the absence of reference made to German-Polish and Spanish-Moroccan history in focus groups with high school students. To this end, the concept of collective memory (historical memory or memory politics) is recurred to. The author argues that only if being 'not Polish' is part of the German and 'being not Moroccan' part of the Spanish Self-definition, we can understand that historical prejudice is absorbed by the students through their mere 'being there' in everyday life in their particular home countries and cities. In order to sustain this hypothesis, the paper traces how both Germany and Spain have been able to constitute themselves as nation-states only after having subjected their respective neighbours to the East and South to significant territorial loss and public defamation.

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  • Tina Maria Nebe, 2004. "At the Gates of Fortress Europe. Historical and Contemporary Representations of the Neighbouring 'Other' in Eastern Germany and Southern Spain," IESA Working Papers Series 0411, Institute for Social Syudies of Andalusia - Higher Council for Scientific Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:esa:iesawp:0411

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    Ethnocentrism; collective memory; focus groups; otherness; identity;
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