How persuasive are arguments? Counter-steering in rising nationalism in Germany during the refugee crisis

Hausarbeit (Hauptseminar), 2015

9 Seiten, Note: 1,0


Table of contents

Table of diagrams

List of abbreviations

Current situation

Public Opinion




Table of diagrams

Diagram 1: General opinion on migration

Diagram 2: Agree- or disagreement with following statements

List of abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Current situation

Nearly every day the media[1] covers the current refugee crisis in Europe. While voluntaries are working in initial reception centres, politicians try to figure out solutions. In Berlin the lower[2] and upper[3] house of parliament passed a new asylum law in order to speed up the application process on October 23rd 2015. The governmental coalition formed by the two Christian Democratic Unions and the Social Democrat Party decided recently on a summit meeting to implement centres for faster processing of asylum seekers with only a slight prospect of success; introducing harsher residence requirements with sanctioning and expressed their will to increase border protection.[4]

Since the economic crisis which turned into a national debt crisis, new right wing parties and far right movements were founded, opposing against the Euro, overregulation from Brussels and newly the refugees coming to Germany. The Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the Occident (PEGIDA) e.g., are gathering more and more sympathizers and form the inlet for parties like the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) or the Alternative for Germany (AfD).

According to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, from January to October 2015 362.153 applicants for asylum were registered within the borders of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). Since 2008 there was a continuously increase in the numbers. 33,3%, the largest group, of all initial applications are from Syrians or citizens of the Arabian Republics. So far in 2015 out of 205.265 processed individuals 84.503 got a temporary residence permit. (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, 2015)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Diagram 1: General opinion on migration[5]

Public Opinion

A study of (infratest dimap, 2015) with 1001 persons questioned asked for the consequences of migration for Germany. 44% thought it could have negative results, 35% claimed that the opposite to be true. There was no remarkable difference in the outcome between the people living in former East or West Germany. Attention should be drawn to the fact, that according to this survey among the people how admitted being follower of the AfD 93% saw negative consequences in the migration flow towards Germany. Mainly people with a higher education stressed positive effects of the asylum seekers. 58% of interviewees thought that immigrants are needed on the labour market, but 51% are feared of the refugees at the same time.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Diagram 2: Agree- or disagreement with following statements[6]

The vast majority demanded Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro should become secure countries of origin[7], pleaded for a fast track towards employment for refugees, ways of legal immigration, payment in kind instead of financial aid and a way to legally force immigrants to obey German values.

A representative survey among the citizens of Dresden, PEGIDA’s birthplace, has shown slightly different results. Here, 40,6% expressed sympathy with the asylum seekers, only 20,4% opposed the migrants. The rest, 39%, has been undecided. (Technische Universität Dresden, 2015)


The surveys show that Germany as a country is divided when it comes to the refugee crisis. It is remarkable, that there are only little differences between East and West Germany, baring in mind that the strongholds of NPD, AfD and PEGIDA are in states, which joined the FRG after 1989. Of high importance is the fact, that in general people with lower education and income were more afraid about the negative effects migration to Germany had.[8] (infratest dimap, 2015) (Technische Universität Dresden, 2015)

‘Afraid’ is the word that really matters in this case, because the discussion and the pubic debate about the refugee crisis has emerged from the stage of objectivity and to a discourse based on feelings. From this point of view five main points can be given as reasons why arguments are not persuasive any longer in this particular context:

1. The process of communication becomes faster. Therefor the Choice Moment between stimulus and response gets smaller. (Smith, 2015) The lack of time to rethink an information received leads to an inner decision making based on the first feeling.
2. Receiving information and publishing them is expensive, nonetheless most of the internet news portals are free of charge. Advertisements simply cannot cover these costs. (Kafsack, 2015) Therefor the quantity is at the expense of quality. Often articles are written by news agencies. This leads to a homogenisation and shortcomings of diversity in the coverage.
3. Especially the mentioned internet portals offer the possibility to comment on articles or to share them on social media platforms. Here one is connected with birds of a feather. An exchange of opinions is only happening between equal minded others. “They repeatedly hear [hearing of] their own echo [… makes people] loose the context to other voices.” (Turner, 2015) The same is to say about variety of publications and offerings only for a very specific interest.
4. “Basically the first level of agenda setting deals with the selection of issues by the news media and its impact on the public agenda. The second level of agenda setting deals with the influence of the particular elements of an issue on the public agenda of attributes.” (Eilders, 2000) Breaking it down: The media decides which news and information are important and by this, they already have an influencing impact on the auditorium.
5. Now with a discussion becoming more and more subjective, the media gets caught in a cross fire.[9] It is therefor not surprising that more than one third of the German citizens lost their trust in media in the past years. (infratest dimap, 2015) Still the public broadcasting services (>70%) followed by newspapers (65%) are the most trustworthy medias.[10] On the bottom of the ranking the yellow press (7%) and the internet (30%) can be found.[11] During demonstrations against the refugee flow the term “Lügenpresse” (Anton, 1916) can be heard frequently nowadays.[12]


[1] Media is used as a unilateral term for print media, television and radio broadcasters.

[2] In the lower house of parliament 630 directly elected representatives of the people appoint the government and take part in all legislative actions.

[3] The upper house of parliament consists of the minister-presidents of all 16 states and according to the represented state’s population a number of ministers (up to six) as well.

[4] The European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union shall be therefor strengthened.

[5] According to (infratest dimap, 2015).

[6] According to (infratest dimap, 2015).

[7] Asylum is in general not granted to people who emigrate from secure countries of origin.

[8] It is assumed that there is a strong connection between a lower educational level and a lower income.

[9] The newspapers and broadcasters, which try to stay objective, suffer from the reproach of faking the figures they present (aka being told to do so because they stand under governmental control) and the ones coming of the fence are criticised for being one sided.

[10] Besides the trustworthiness, (Gerhards, Klingler, & Blödorn, 2013) have shown, that looking at the radio and television magazine one can see that entertainment gained a higher share in the program compared to the educational part in the widest sense.

[11] It shall be noticed that of the surveyed persons, two thirds of the members of AfD, claimed the media to be implausible and more than 50% share the term “Die Lügenpresse” (Anton, 1916)

[12] This term was mentioned for the first time in 1914 (e.g.: Anton, R. (1914). Der Lügenfeldzug unserer Feinde. Leipzig: (Zehrfeld, Ed.)) and was used by the Nazi propaganda to denounce Jewish and communistic newspapers.

Ende der Leseprobe aus 9 Seiten


How persuasive are arguments? Counter-steering in rising nationalism in Germany during the refugee crisis
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York Wilhelm Scheile (Autor), 2015, How persuasive are arguments? Counter-steering in rising nationalism in Germany during the refugee crisis, München, GRIN Verlag,


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