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Gespräche in einer Krise: Analyse von Telefonaten mit einem RAF-Mitglied während der Okkupation der westdeutschen Botschaft in Stockholm 1975
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies.
2009 (German)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Conversations in a crisis : Analysis of telephone communication with a member of the red army faction during the 1975 occupation of the West German embassy in Stockholm (English)
Abstract [en]

When crises develop, people are confronted with difficulties beyond those experienced in normal everyday activities.  Due to the perceived threats inherent to such situations, familiar behaviors may prove ineffective, and such attempts can pose dangerous and unpredictable risks. Crises are extreme situations, occurring at the very edges of human experience. Oral communication in such situations cannot be casual; the seriousness of the situation demands exceptional communicative performance on the part of the participants. Therefore, certainties about everyday communication conventions are called into question.

The following work examines conversations during which the participants were involved in an extreme situation. In this particular crisis, a politically motivated kidnapping, the personal involvement of the interlocutors is substantial. A clear and present fear of the situation escalating and the possibility of a failure to anticipate the resulting reactions from the other party(ies) characterize the communicative acts of those involved.

Recorded telephone calls during the occupation of the West German Embassy in Stockholm by members of the Red Army Faction (RAF) on April 24, 1975 comprise the basis for this analysis. One of the occupiers speaks with various interlocutors located in an adjacent embassy building. These interlocutors are relatives of the hostages, the Swedish Minister of Justice, and a German official charged with leading the negotiations.

In this study, the communicative processes of the crisis are reconstructed. In order to show how the interlocutors attempt to reach their goals in this tense situation with the resources available to them, as well as what they in fact achieve, ethnographic methods of analysis have been employed.

This study shows how, despite strong conflicting interests and motives, a shared reality is built through the actions of the interlocutors. The interaction between two key figures in the early stages of the crisis can even be characterized as a form of coalition building. An explanation as to why this collaboration is not retained in the subsequent course of the events, however, leading to an escalation of the situation, is also presented. Furthermore, the following work sets forth qualities needed to interactively build a coalition in a precarious crisis situation, which has arisen between parties characterized by diametrically opposed aims.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Department of Language Studies, Umeå university , 2009. , 384 p.
Umeå studies in language and literature, 8
Keyword [en]
crisis, telephone calls, conversation analysis, pragmatics, linguistics, verbal interaction, negotiation, Red Army Faction, Baader-Meinhof, terrorism, RAF, Swedish history, political violence, West German history, occupation
Keyword [de]
Krise, Telefongespräche, Gesprächsanalyse, Sprachwissenschaft, verbale Interaktion, Verhandlung, Rote Armee Fraktion, Baader-Meinhoff, Terrorismus, Linksterrorismus, Deutsche Geschichte, Schwedische Geschickte, Okkupation
Keyword [sv]
kris, telefonsamtal, samtalsanalys, lingvistik, verbal interaktion, förhandling, Röda Armé-fraktion, RAF, Baader-Meinhof, terrorism, vänsterterrorism, tyska historia, svensk historia, ockupation
National Category
Specific Languages Specific Languages General Language Studies and Linguistics History Law and Society Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Linguistics; German; History
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-26771ISBN: 978-91-7264-863-0OAI: diva2:274011
Institutionen för språkstudier, 901 87, Umeå
Public defence
2009-11-21, Hörsal F, Humanisthuset, Umeå universitet, 901 87 Umeå, Umeå, 10:00 (German)
Available from: 2009-10-30 Created: 2009-10-26 Last updated: 2009-10-30Bibliographically approved

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