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Actors, Areas, Paths – German-Polish Communication: Together and about each other

Depending on the contemporary political relations, the German-Polish dialogue since 1989 was defined as a Polish-German community of shared values, mature neighborhood, asymmetric partnership, distanced neighborhood, and German-Polish community of conflicts.  Media and academic research underscore the asymmetry of mutual interests, the strong influence of stereotypes that date from the 19th century, and the diversity of communication styles. In fact, various problems of interrelation derive from communication. 

In recent decades, numerous surveys regarding the reciprocal and bilateral media communication and political discourse were conducted in the neighboring countries. However, an analysis with respect to communication processes and the emergence of national discourses that derive from influential (inter-) actions of several actors with different tools and styles of communications is still missing. Beyond the general question how Poles and Germans are communicating,  the planned project in particular aims to ascertain in what spheres they are communicating and how they influence the mutual perception and for their part affect the communication itself. Moreover, the project will tackle the following questions: what determines the German-Polish communication? Who initiates the topics of German-Polish communication and where does it happen? How does communication affect the perception of the other society? What is causing the key issues of communication on the level of content and style? How does the communication of the actors regarding their tools and over the course of time differ? Does the communication include Polonophobia or Germanophobia? Does the analysis of the communication allow to determine whether both countries play a role in the domestic policies of the other country and if so, to what extent? Is there an asymmetry?
The project intents to focus on the analysis of several particular subject areas that were playing a subordinating role for the German-Polish communication in recent years: European integration, economy, and historic subjects. At the same time, we intent to research specific periods of the German-Polish cooperation of the last 30 years that represent phases of events that shaped the relations and the different periods.  
In order to examine the previous described phenomena, the team of researchers will apply several techniques of qualitative and quantitative analysis. These include expert interviews, groups discussion (focus groups) with young people, representative opinion polls surveys (as part of the German-Polish Barometer), an analysis of traditional and social media, an evaluation of the communicative aspects of political and scientific conferences, as well as the analysis of public and cultural diplomacy of both countries. The multifaceted skills of the team of researchers allow a comprehensive analysis regarding the numerous aspects of the German-Polish communication. 
Depending on the issue and the methodology, the study will be divided into several phases. Following the completion of each part, the results will be published in Polish and in German and will be made available through materials to media, experts, and policy makers of both countries. The results will thus be shared among social media channels and presented expansively among German-Polish networks and conferences. Also, after every phase an event will be organized in order to inform experts, policy makers, and journalists about the outcome and to initiate a discussion of the findings.

Project’s partners
Institute of Public Affairs, Warsaw
Deutsches-Polen Institut, Darmstadt

Project’s team:

Project leaders:

    Dr. Agnieszka Łada, project leader, Institute of Public Affairs, Director of the European Program
    Dr. hab. Peter Oliver Loew, project leader, v-ce director of the Deutsches-Polen Institut Darmstadt 

Dr. Waldemar Czachur, University of Warsaw, Germanist and Linguist
Dr. Indira Dupuis, Freie Universität Berlin
Dr. Jacek Kucharczyk, Institute of Public Affairs, President of the Executive  Board
Prof. Beata Łaciak, Institute of Public Affairs, Member of the Executive Board
Prof. Beata Ociepka, University of Wroclaw
Paulina Piwowarczyk, Institute of Public Affairs, Analyst and project coordinator of the European program

Time: June 2019 – August 2021
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