THE AMBIVALENCE OF THE PERCEPTION OF MULTICULTURALISM AS A SOCIAL PHENOMENON IN GERMANY

Abstract.In the most prominent of the German defining dictionaries there is no definition of the term «multiculturalism», which is, however, hotly discussed in all German-speaking mass media. In this report we use linguisticconceptual analysis to investigate this social phenomenon, which opens up the cognitive aspect of the concept and its cultural value for modern German society.
The goal of the report is to concretize the definition of the word «multiculturalism» in the modern German language and to find
out its paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations. The term multiculturalism» refers in the German language, on the one hand, toa
situation in society, where members of different cultures live together. On the other hand, multiculturalism is defined as coexistence of different cultures, which doesn’t presuppose assimilation. Obviously, these two views differ only by the presence or absence of the meaning component «binding agreement of the coexisting cultures on cross-cultural basis values». These two meanings are probably related to each other as an ideal meaning and an actual meaning. The idealmeaning is fixed in some defining dictionaries, the actual meaning is not found there, it predominates, however, in the modern German language, what syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations of the lexeme «multiculturalism» show. As contextual synonyms for the word «multicultural ism» function such word-combinations as cultural pluralismand the emergence of parallel societies. In the context are used such antonyms for the word as the attempt to create homogeneous
states; monoculturalism and homogenization madness, but also
leading culture, integration and assimilation. The syntagmatic
environment of the word shows that it is used relatively often in
its actual meaning, which is perceived negatively by many native
German speakers. The current social situation in Germany suggests that various aspects of the coexistence of different cultures
in this country will be certainly discussed hot also in the future.
However, in order to avoid the dispute over the meaning and
evaluation of the word «multiculturalism», we believe that the
meaning of this word should be clarified by agreeing whether the
corresponding term contains the meaning component «binding
agreement of the coexisting cultures on cross-cultural basis values».
Keywords: Multiculturalism, concept, paradigmatic relations,
syntagmatic relations

Natalia Katalkina
Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University
St. Petersburg, Russia
e-mail: nat-vassiljeva@yandex.ru
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4150-6596

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