The Voices of Neighbourhood

  • Ulrike Hanna Meinhof
  • Dariusz Galasiński
Part of the Language and Globalization book series (LAGL)


In our earlier work on these data (Galasiński and Meinhof, 2002), we focused on the uneasy relationship between the Gubin and Guben communities. We showed, for the Polish part, that Poles perceive their German neighbours very often in terms of threat. We heard a number of stories in which our Polish informants expressed fear that the previous owners of the properties they live in would come to claim their properties. As one of our Polish informants put it dramatically: the German will come one day, show the deed and say: ‘It’s mine’. Germans are a threat, Germans are a problem. Bauman described the notion of Other as follows:

‘We’ share the same fate, grow rich together or get destitute together, while ‘they’ prey on our calamities and are hurt by our success. ‘We’ are supposed to assist each other, while ‘they’ lie in wait for our lapse. ‘We’ understand each other, feel the same feelings and think the same thoughts, while ‘they’ remain impenetrable, incomprehensible, sinister aliens. The frontiers of the ‘we-group’ … delineate the border of our intellectual security and provide the frame on which to hinge our loyalties, rights and duties. (1999:102)

Our study provides ample evidence for these processes.1


Negative Stereotype Polish Informant Positive Contact Shop Assistant Middle Generation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Ulrike Hanna Meinhof and Dariusz Galasiński 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ulrike Hanna Meinhof
    • 1
  • Dariusz Galasiński
    • 2
  1. 1.University of SouthamptonUK
  2. 2.University of wolverhamptonUK

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