2019 Jay Blumler Lecture with guest speaker Professor Ruth Wodak

This lecture will be about the discourse and construction of national identities in Austria from 1995 to 2005 and 2005 to 2015.

Since the 1980s, the transformation of the former Eastern bloc, Germany’s reunification and the enlargement and deeper integration of the European Union, together with persistent debates about migration, have increasingly focused more attention on issues of historical and cultural identities.

Seemingly established collective and national identities have become contested political terrain and the focus of political struggles. Threats and crises of various kinds have re-invigorated discussions of national/nativist or cultural identities across Europe, alongside the rise of far-right populist parties and movements.

In this lecture, Professor Ruth Wodak illustrates these developments using the results of a recent research project about the Discursive Construction of Austrian National Identities. After presenting this theoretical and methodological framework and the data set including political speeches, commemorative events, (social) media, group discussions as well as in-depth interviews, she will focus primarily on the media representation of asylum seekers, refugees, and migrants during the 2015 'refugee crisis' and the changing border and body politics, before concluding with a longitudinal perspective on the discursive construction of (Austrian) national identities.

Ruth Wodak is Emerita Distinguished Professor of Discourse Studies at Lancaster University and is affiliated to the University of Vienna. She was awarded the 1996 Wittgenstein Prize for Elite Researchers and the 2018 Lebenswerk Preis for her lifetime achievements from the Austrian Ministry for Women’s Affairs. She is past-President of the Societas Linguistica Europaea, a member of the British Academy of Social Sciences and a member of the Academia Europaea.