Intervening in the Intervener’s Self-Other Representations: Germany and Afghanistan through the eyes of two German quality newspapers

Leonhardt Van Efferink

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Drawing on poststructuralism and critical geopolitics, the paper examines visual representations of Germany and Afghanistan in two German quality newspapers. Germany contributes the third-largest largest number of troops to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). ISAF was established by the UN in 2001 to improve security, enable reconstruction and development and strengthen governance in Afghanistan. The paper first examines earlier critical geopolitical works, concentrating on the concepts discourses and identity. Subsequently, the visual analysis methodology is explained, including how it could help to find and interpret particular aspects of national identity. Then a brief overview of Germany’s newspaper market follows, with a focus on the titles that are investigated in this study. These are right-of-centre Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) and left-of-centre Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ). Moreover, the NATO bombardment of two fuel trucks in Kunduz (Afghanistan) in September 2009 is discussed as it forms the background of the research. The outrage in Germany about the air strike and its many innocent victims stemmed from the fact that a German officer had requested the bombardment. By interpreting the visual representations of German and Afghan actors in FAZ and SZ, the paper seeks to explore how notions of national identity are mobilised in newspaper reporting.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages35
Publication statusUnpublished - 28 Jun 2012


  • Germany, Afghanistan, ISAF, Critical Geopolitics, national identity, newspapers, visual analysis

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