Macquarie University
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Female characters in Turkish German cinematic space: an analysis with examples of three recent films

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posted on 2022-03-28, 01:45 authored by Michelle Robertson
This thesis shows how the female characters of recent ‗Turkish-German‘ films are situated in transnational, frequently transcultural space, in which they have greater self-determination and individuation compared to characters in earlier films. These cinematic developments reflect changing discourses around integration and multiculturalism in Germany. Three films have been chosen for close analysis. They exemplify the development of a Turkish German cinematic space, and add new migratory patterns to the history of Turkish-German interaction. By the late 20th Century, discourses of multiculturalism had found their way into mainstream media and politics in Germany, in spite of successive governments‘ statements that Germany was not a country of immigration. In the early 21st Century, changes were made to the historically restrictive German citizenship and immigration laws. The concept of integration remains a highly contested one, and as in many other countries, there has been something of a ‗crisis of multiculturalism‘ in Germany. The internal diversity of nation-states, and the external forces of globalisation and transnational ties, constantly draw attention to the difficulty of national identity as a category. Gender plays a central role in nation-building, and in how the state interacts both with its existing population and with immigrants. In cinema, too, anxieties around social change, or of promoting or reinstating certain values, were frequently expressed through gender roles. Relational gender constructions are also employed to uphold relational cultural identities and perceptions of the ethnic other. Turkish immigrants to Germany were frequently constructed as being from a ‗backward‘ tradition, and patriarchal norms viewed as evidence of a resistance to integration in German society. This centrality of gender to the ‗othering‘ of immigrant minorities has been seen in many films portraying Turkish immigrants, or their descendants, in Germany. The three films analysed here illustrate the heterogeneity of Germany‘s Turkish minority, and the impossibility of speaking of a monolithic ‗Turkish culture‘. In their content and their reception, these films are embedded in multiple ways in transnational Turkish German networks of connectivity, mobility and belonging.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Immigration and multiculturalism in Germany -- 3. Nation and gender in German cinema -- 4. Analysing transnationalism in film: theoretical frameworks -- 5. Film analyses -- 6. Turkish-German female identities in transnational cinematic space -- 7. Conclusion -- Bibliography-- Filmography.


Bibliography: pages 244-259 20th December 2012

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of International Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of International Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Martina Möllering

Additional Supervisor 1

Ulrike Garde


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Michelle Robertson 2013.




1 online resources (v, 269 pages)

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mq:33180 2174984