Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


How conversation works in a hostage drama

A new dissertation from Umeå University in Sweden deals with communication in extreme situations. The example is the occupation of the West German embassy in 1975 and the telephone conversations that were carried out between relatives of the hostages, the Swedish minister of justice, a German embassy official, and one of the occupiers.

How does a social situation actually function when the lives of both the players and others are under threat? Many of us remember April 24, 1975, when six members of the Red Army Fraction occupied and blew up the West German embassy in Stockholm.

Conversation researcher Gregor von der Heiden analyzed the telephone conversations that were carried out with one of the occupiers. On the basis of this analysis, he draws conclusions regarding what is necessary for communication in a sensitive situation where the interests of the parties are irreconcilable.

The dissertation shows how conversations during crises are characterized by the fear that the situation will get out of hand and an inability to predict the reactions of the interlocutor. The pressure to act is great, and there are palpable risks. The gravity of the situation forces the participants to communicate exceptionally well.

"Crises are extreme situations in people's lives, and in such situations everyday commonplaces seem to be questioned," says Gregor von der Heiden. "Conversations in a crisis require the greatest concentration and presence of mind."

In his study, Gregor von der Heiden reconstructed the communicative processes that took place during the embassy occupation. The parties in a conversation had strongly contradictory interests and motives, but, despite this, they put together a shared picture of reality through their communicative actions. The interaction between two of the key players in the first stages of the crisis can even be characterized as a coalition. Why was this not maintained, and why did the situation escalate?

Dissertation: Gespräche in einer Krise. Analyse von Telefonaten mit einem RAF-Mitglied während der Okkupation der westdeutschen Botschaft in Stockholm 1975

For further information or an interview, please contact Gregor von der Heiden, tel +46 (0)90-786 63 13 or e-mail

Pressofficer Helena Vejbrink; or +46-90 786 93 79

Helena Vejbrink | idw
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Illinois researchers researchers find tweeting in cities lower than expected
21.02.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

nachricht Polluted air may pollute our morality
08.02.2018 | Association for Psychological Science

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

Im Focus: Tiny implants for cells are functional in vivo

For the first time, an interdisciplinary team from the University of Basel has succeeded in integrating artificial organelles into the cells of live zebrafish embryos. This innovative approach using artificial organelles as cellular implants offers new potential in treating a range of diseases, as the authors report in an article published in Nature Communications.

In the cells of higher organisms, organelles such as the nucleus or mitochondria perform a range of complex functions necessary for life. In the networks of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

International Tinnitus Conference of the Tinnitus Research Initiative in Regensburg

13.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion

22.03.2018 | Trade Fair News

New interactive map shows climate change everywhere in world

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

New technologies and computing power to help strengthen population data

22.03.2018 | Earth Sciences

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>