Functioning of ethnostereotypes in media (on the example of the image of Polish people in Ukrainian news)

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Lystvak H. B., Олянишен О. В. № 2 (80) 124-136 Image Image

The study examines a stereotype and an ethnostereotype as a social phenomenon that is reflected in the media and narrows the perception of certain groups in society to simplified generalizations. In particular, the stereotyped image of Poles, with whom Ukrainians have centuries of common history and many points that are assessed differently by Ukrainian and Polish historiography, is analyzed.

Twenty online newspapers were selected for the study: Ukrainian by territory; written in Ukrainian, in Russian and bilingual; different in number of readers and reputation. Publications in these media were analyzed for the presence of mentions of Poland and Poles. As a result, four negative and three positive stereotypes were recorded in the media during the analyzed period. Negative stereotypes are conventionally called «drunk Pole», «inadequate Pole», «Polish chauvinist» and «Polish master». The positive ones include the stereotypes «Pole who supports Ukraine», «Polish patriot» and «progressive Pole».

Most of the news that broadcasts the negative image of the Pole are publications at the resources which have a low reputation in the media sphere. They are characterized by biased selection of publications, usage of «clickbait» headlines and manipulative presentation of information. The analyzed publications, which contain stereotyped characteristics of Poles (both negative and positive), are characterized by the opposition «we and they», which polarizes the public Ukrainian perception of Poles, emphasizing the differences and unreasonably explaining them by nationality.

Overcoming the stereotyped media image of Poles requires, on the one hand, a conscious and attentive approach of media creators to the selection of news and wording, on the other – working with readers through the basic principles of media literacy and professional media standards.

Keywords: media language, online newspaper, media literacy, ethnic stereotype, hate speech, Polish people image.

doi: 10.32403/0554-4866-2020-2-80-124-136

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