Serialisierte Erzählung und kulturspezifische Pressenarrative. Die ‚Wulff-Affäre‘ in der deutschen Presse

Valérie Robert


This paper addresses narrativity in press discourse from a postclassical and transdisciplinary perspective and seeks to describe dominant metanarratives in German journalistic culture. The corpus consists of all the press texts about the Wulff-scandal (that led to the resignation of the Bundespräsident in 2012). The paper defines the characteristics of narrativity in the press and presents the theory of French-speaking authors about press narration as a serialized macrotext with its own temporality. It proceeds to a close reading of the corpus and describes markers of narrativity, of seriality, of cohesion and of temporal organization. The narration in the press is described as simultaneous, retrospective and prospective / performative. It appears that it is a kind of self-fulfilling narrative, organised in a teleological perspective with Wulff’s resignation as the only possible resolution. In the underlying metanarrative, scandals appear as stages on the way to an exemplary democracy, in which the journalists have a central function, on the side of or against the politicians. The social group of journalists is described as a narrative community with its own narrative forms and culturally available plots, its own narrative memory, i.e. its own founding stories that are told again and again with an exemplary function, and with its own goals that are legitimated by the narratives.