The Future of Education

Edition 12

Accepted Abstracts

German Students' Perception of Arab women as Portrayed in Western Newspapers

Zahra Mustafa-Awad, University of Jordan (Jordan)

Monika Kirner-Ludwig, State University of New York at Albany (United States)

Abstract

 The role of media in forming public opinion has attracted a lot of attention, but the audiences’ awareness of its contribution to constructing their attitudes has not received enough consideration. This paper reports on the first stage of a research project on German university students' perception of Arab women and to what extent it is affected by their representation in Western press. It concentrates on the relationship between the lexical items used by the students to express their attitudes towards Arab women and those featuring in the headlines of the news they read about them in English, American and German newspapers.

Preliminary results show that there is a clear relationship between the representation of Arab women in Western newspapers and German students' opinion of them. The findings also indicate that German students tend to be aware of the role that news reports could play in constructing stereotypes of different nations. These results have implication for media education.

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