Werte.Sprache.Integration – Zur Konstruktion von Werten in DaZ- Lehrmaterialien

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Hofer-Robinson, Michael
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University College Cork
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Since the foundation of the State Secretariat for Integration and its relocation to the Federal Chancellery, both the vocabulary and direction of integration policy in Austria have changed steadily. While there is still a strong focus on the importance of learning the German language, the new Integration Act of 2017 now includes values as part of compulsory German courses. Several textbooks have been published that are recommended by the Austrian Integration Fund (OIF) for use in 'German Courses with Value and Orientation Knowledge'. The present study examines the possibilities and perspectives established by the didactic material and enquires how values are constructed in the teaching material, how learners (and teachers) are (or can be) addressed by this material, which ideas of social reality and subjects can be reconstructed, and which social positions are suggested towards learners. In the first part of the study, previous scholarly work on values in the context of integration are discussed in order to make clear the objectives and research questions addressed by the present study, as well as its relevance for the wider subject. Values represent the starting point of the research project, but this is not a study of values, not an attempt to define values, even though an examination of value theories, formation and education is necessary to approach the research questions. In the second part, an analytical perspective informed by migration pedagogy, racism criticism and subjectivation is taken and interlinked with thematic discourse analysis in order to reconstruct knowledge from the value material. Relying on these theoretical and methodological presuppositions, three textbooks recommended by the ÖIF are analyzed and typical forms of address and of constructions of reality are reconstructed. The analysis shows that, on the one hand, textbook knowledge reproduces a racist order of difference that demands that learners, who are anticipated to be deficient and problematic, assimilate to a superior mainstream culture, i. e. that the social reality constructed in the materials has to be learned and recognized as 'normal' and 'right'. On the other hand, the teaching of values can be recognized as a practice that can be summarized with the term 'domestication'. This draws attention to the utilization of 'others by migration', which is at the fore in the concept of integration and in the teaching materials. The teaching of values in its current form reinforces a separation between a national-ethno-cultural 'us' and 'not-us' and demands imagined learners 'become who we would like to be' (cf. Heinemann 2017) – a discursive examination of values, however, does not take place.
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Values , Integration , Austria , Language , Migration
Hofer-Robinson, M. 2022. Werte.Sprache.Integration – Zur Konstruktion von Werten in DaZ- Lehrmaterialien. PhD Thesis, University College Cork.
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