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Representation of refugees and asylum seekers in UK newspapers: Towards a corpus-based comparison of the stance of tabloids and broadsheets.

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Publication date29/06/2006
Number of pages37
<mark>Original language</mark>English
EventFirst International Conference: Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines (CADAAD 2006) - University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

Conference

ConferenceFirst International Conference: Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines (CADAAD 2006)
CityUniversity of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
Period29/06/0630/06/06

Abstract

This paper reports work on an ongoing project on the representation of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK press. In recent years, the number of refugees and asylum seekers entering the UK has increased: unsurprisingly, these groups have attracted intense media and political discussion. As the representation of these groups in the press can influence the way in which readers perceive them, the discourses surrounding these, and related, groups have been the focus of linguistic studies (e.g. Greenslade, 2005; ter Wal, 2002). Although the project combines approaches within critical discourse analysis and corpus linguistics, the aim of this paper is to exemplify how corpus-based techniques can contribute to CDA (cf. Hardt-Mautner, 1995; Orpin, 2005; Sotillo & Wang-Gempp, 2004; Wilson, 1993). The study uses a corpus of 150 million words, comprising articles relevant to refugees and asylum seekers from 12 national and 3 local UK newspapers, spanning the last ten years. Following Baker & McEnery (2005), the paper analyses collocational networks surrounding the terms refugee(s) and asylum seeker(s), that is, the linguistic units which tend to co-occur statistically significantly with these terms in the corpus. The study also makes use of the notions of semantic prosody: the "consistent aura of meaning with which a form is imbued by its collocates" (Louw, 1993: 157), and, more significantly, Stubbs' expanded notion of discourse prosody: �a feature which extends over more than one unit in a linear string. � [P]rosodies often express the speaker�s reason for making the utterance, and therefore identify functional discourse units� (2001: 111-112). Through the examination of frequent collocates for patterns and systematic associations, elements of the underlying discourses related to, and, arguably, constructing the identities of, the two groups can be revealed. The paper will also compare the corresponding discourses in broadsheets and tabloids.