Vienna Institute for Cooperation and international Dialogue – Research

Research Phase 1 – Collection of Popular Culture productions

During its research on stereotypical images in Austria, VIDC focused its collection of stereotypical images mainly on sports, especially on football, as one of the strongest expressions of popular culture in the world. A second focus was put on the production of stereotypes that included self-stereotyping by ethnic minority/migrants with campaigns to counter stereotypical and racist images. With regard to the Austrian media landscape highly dominated by boulevard press, the collection emphasised mainstream media, video productions and posts/blogs as well as migrant/minority media (online, print and social media) and Popular Culture productions by migrant journalists, bloggers and artists. The selection was made on the basis of images that targeted those migrant/minority groups most affected by discrimination and racism in Austria.

News, press, blog…

“How do you do?”
In 2013, the regional governor of Tyrol, visited the camp of the Austrian national football team. During the welcome address, he turned to Austria´s young football star, David Alaba, and used the English phrase “How do you do?”, obviously in reference to Alabas “foreign” appearance.
David Alaba was born in Vienna and played at Bayern München in Germany. His father is Nigerian while his mother is from the Philippines. The example shows how deep-rooted images and stereotypes are anchored in society and impact the widespread images of people with an African migration background, even if they are born and have grown up in Austria.

“Wilderness in the face“
An online advertisement from an Austrian travel agency 2009 showing the face of an African man subtitled “look at the wilderness in the face”. After harsh critiques from the Austrian Black Community the Agency pulled back the campaign immediately and made a public statement apologising for the unintentional racist insinuations.

“Who is cleaning in your home?”
During the 2013 general election campaign in Austria the Green Party posted a picture (originally taken in South Africa) of two black cleaning women on facebook with the headline “Who is cleaning in your home?” The picture was accompanied by a short text citing studies showing that migrants do not abuse the social security system; on the contrary, they reinforce the economic system and receive less social benefits by paying in more (taxes) than what they get out. This “well-meant” subject ignited a number of negative reactions and criticism from the side of minority groups.

Campaign Blackaustria
One of the first campaigns against racist stereotypes towards migrant/minority people was the campaign Blackaustria “T-shirt exchange” by the Austrian Black Community´s internet platforms and M-Media.

Campaign “The courage to change”
The African Networking Platform (AVP) started a self-perception campaign in 2012 and produced an advertisement showing a woman of African origin sitting in front of an Austrian flag subtitled “Chancellor of the Austrian Republic 2013”.

The Viennese free youth magazine das biber has been produced and written “out of the community” of the young new generation immigrants. It is well known for publishing articles, in which they construct and de-construct stereotypes about immigrants. In 2013, e.g., the magazine created a new type of Viennese subculture: “Jugobobo”, which connects the term “Jugo”, which is a more or less pejorative name for migrants originating from the former Yugoslavia–which became a common self-description for young Austrians with a migration background nowadays–with the term “bobo” “Bohemian Bourgeois”, denominating liberal alternative urban people.

Why do you want to eat us?
One Roma activist artists in Austria criticises in her politically controversial artworks various forms of racism, nationalism and fascism in Europe. The examples show a variety of stereotypes against Sinti & Roma connected to food in Austria.

Prominent people–the former city Councillor of Graz, the former director of the ORF in the province of Styria and a famous churchperson–were sitting in front of the Provincial Government building in Graz 2011 to protest against the city´s “begging ban” targeting mainly Roma people.

“I´m Muslim. Don´t panic”
In 2012 the Viennes city magazine das biber published a cover with the slogan “I´m muslim. Don´t panic. My Islam doesn´t know bombs”. In the leading article the author refers to the widespread one-sided representation of Muslims in the media.

“Criminal, unwilling, religious”: “the Turk” as Stereotype
One article in the Austrian quality newspaper Die Presse written by a journalist of Turkish migrant background summarises the most widespread stereotypical images about “Turks in Austria”. The image accompanying the article shows a Turkish football fan. The picture was shot by an Austrian photographer from the Austrian Press Agency (APA). The image stresses the stereotype of the “aggressive, nationalist Turkish fans”.

“I am the Ösi-Boy”
Ösi-Bua is an Austrian musician, who became famous in 2011 with his song “I am the Ösi-boy”. Ösi refers to Österreicher/Austrian. Ösi-Bua is Cedrick Mugiraneza, who fled from Burundi to Austria with his parents at the age of 9 and grew up in Upper Austria. He presents himself in a typical Austrian outfit, speaks dialect, wears leather trousers and traditional costumes.


“My Pumas” with Samuel Eto´o
The German sports goods producer Puma, which sponsors the majority of national football teams in Africa, has been depicting “colonial images of wildness and emotional animality” in its advertising spots. Such public clichés and stereotypes correspond with the abuse of African players in football stadiums (“monkey chants”).

“Les Lions Indomptables”
Puma Cameroon Football Soccer Commercial with Eto’o (2007)

“I am the Ösi-Boy”
Official video of the Austrian musician Ösi-Bua (Austrian-Boy).

Research Phase 2 – Perception of citizens

VIDC organised an open discussion about discrimination & racism in Austrian football with the participation of the Sport Club Süssenbrunn. The discussion took place on the football ground of SC Süssenbrunn on 24th of August 2013 during a tournament of the regional football league in Vienna bringing together the players of the multinational team, fans and spectators. The aim was to get more insights on the perception of stereotypes: What kind of stereotypes people from migrant/minority origin are confronted with in football but also in society? What kind of stereotypes exist between different migrant/minority groups and do they differ from majority stereotypes?

Vienna Institute for Cooperation and international Dialogue


Helene Trauner
Michael Fanizadeh





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