The City of Ethnos: A Personal Response to a Fear-based Discourse in Our Society

By Alma Hoffmann.

Published by The International Journal of Design in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The United States has gone through what could be called radical changes regarding issues related to immigration and people of different races. 9-11 left a mark in the nation’s conscience, facilitating a rhetoric that fosters fear towards others. These changes in the political and cultural arena are seen in society; through conversations, attitudes, and belief systems. In most cases, homogeneous thoughts prevail in groups that share common values. What happens when someone is an immigrant and yet he/she is also part of the group? How are discussions and conversations seen through the eyes of one who, given the current rhetoric, is considered an outsider? As a bilingual speaker and as a person who holds US citizenship and yet was born and raised in another country, I look at the current climate and wonder; Where is our society headed regarding issues of equality, diversity, cross cultural communication, openness, etc. Borrowing from designers in the past such as El Lissitzky, the Bauhaus, Kandinsky, and John Heartfield, I explore current political issues in the form of posters to provoke a dialogue and ask ourselves poignant questions about what we hear and fear.

Keywords: Diversity, Fear, Immigration, Poster, Design, Society, Culture, Language, Bilingual, Values, Identity, Ethics, Skin Color, Universal, Social Policy, Cultural Processes, Multiculturalism, Universal Design, Identities

The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 9, Issue 1, March 2015, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.894MB).

Alma Hoffmann

Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Arts, College of Arts and Sciences, University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL, USA