Genre matters

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Contrastive media analysis is a vast field of academic research that – metaphorically speaking – comes in many shapes and sizes and therefore is confronted by manifold theoretical and methodological challenges. This contribution focuses on two interrelated aspects: a) the problem of equivalence as a prerequisite of comparison and b) the comparative constellation and its effects on the interpretation of cultural variance. It is important to mention that the discussion in this paper is set against the backdrop of a genre-based approach. Starting from the – initially rather unspectacular – observation that “we find intercultural variations in generic realizations” (Bhatia 2002: 11), this paper aims at highlighting certain basic theoretical and methodological issues that, in my view, are still often underestimated or overseen in contrastive media analyses. I will illustrate my considerations by presenting a comparison of a newspaper genre, the interview, in different cultural contexts.


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