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'Pauper aliens' and 'political refugees': A corpus linguistic approach to the language of migration in nineteenth-century newspapers

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@phdthesis{7b44e397fc8d416c8c8f3659a13334cb,
title = "'Pauper aliens' and 'political refugees': A corpus linguistic approach to the language of migration in nineteenth-century newspapers",
abstract = "The widespread digitisation of their source base means that historians now face an overwhelming body of material. This historical {\textquoteleft}big data{\textquoteright} is only going to continue to expand, not just because digitisation features prominently on the agendas of institutions, but also because those studying late twentieth, and twenty-first century, history will have to deal with large quantities of {\textquoteleft}born digital{\textquoteright} material as they turn their gaze to the internet age. Although the interfaces currently used to access digital sources have their strengths, there is an increasing need for more effective ways for historians to work with large amounts of text. This thesis is one of the first studies to explore the potential of corpus linguistics, the computer-assisted analysis of language in very large bodies of text, as a means of approaching the ever-expanding historical archive.This thesis uses corpus linguistics to examine the representation of migrants in the British Library{\textquoteright}s nineteenth-century newspaper collection, focusing specifically upon the discourses associated with {\textquoteleft}aliens{\textquoteright} and {\textquoteleft}refugees{\textquoteright}, and how they changed over time. The nineteenth century saw an increase in global movement, which led to considerable legislative changes, including the development of many of Britain{\textquoteright}s present-day migration controls. This thesis finds that {\textquoteleft}alien{\textquoteright} migration increased in topicality in the 1880s and 1890s and that {\textquoteleft}alien{\textquoteright} saw a striking shift in its associations that, significantly, coincided with an increase in, predominantly Jewish, migrants from the Russian Empire. Although only a small proportion of Britain{\textquoteright}s {\textquoteleft}alien{\textquoteright} population, this group dominated newspaper reporting, which became characterised by increasingly negative language, including a strong association between the {\textquoteleft}alien{\textquoteright} and poverty. Although {\textquoteleft}refugee{\textquoteright} was often associated with more positive language than {\textquoteleft}alien{\textquoteright}, this thesis finds that the actions of a small number of violent individuals influenced newspaper reporting upon political refugees, who became implicated in the alleged {\textquoteleft}abuse{\textquoteright} of the {\textquoteleft}right of asylum{\textquoteright}.",
keywords = "corpus, corpus linguistics, Big Data, Digital Humanities, Migration, Immigration, Aliens Act, alien, refugee",
author = "Ruth Byrne",
year = "2020",
doi = "10.17635/lancaster/thesis/963",
language = "English",
publisher = "Lancaster University",
school = "Lancaster University",

}

RIS

TY - THES

T1 - 'Pauper aliens' and 'political refugees'

T2 - A corpus linguistic approach to the language of migration in nineteenth-century newspapers

AU - Byrne, Ruth

PY - 2020

Y1 - 2020

N2 - The widespread digitisation of their source base means that historians now face an overwhelming body of material. This historical ‘big data’ is only going to continue to expand, not just because digitisation features prominently on the agendas of institutions, but also because those studying late twentieth, and twenty-first century, history will have to deal with large quantities of ‘born digital’ material as they turn their gaze to the internet age. Although the interfaces currently used to access digital sources have their strengths, there is an increasing need for more effective ways for historians to work with large amounts of text. This thesis is one of the first studies to explore the potential of corpus linguistics, the computer-assisted analysis of language in very large bodies of text, as a means of approaching the ever-expanding historical archive.This thesis uses corpus linguistics to examine the representation of migrants in the British Library’s nineteenth-century newspaper collection, focusing specifically upon the discourses associated with ‘aliens’ and ‘refugees’, and how they changed over time. The nineteenth century saw an increase in global movement, which led to considerable legislative changes, including the development of many of Britain’s present-day migration controls. This thesis finds that ‘alien’ migration increased in topicality in the 1880s and 1890s and that ‘alien’ saw a striking shift in its associations that, significantly, coincided with an increase in, predominantly Jewish, migrants from the Russian Empire. Although only a small proportion of Britain’s ‘alien’ population, this group dominated newspaper reporting, which became characterised by increasingly negative language, including a strong association between the ‘alien’ and poverty. Although ‘refugee’ was often associated with more positive language than ‘alien’, this thesis finds that the actions of a small number of violent individuals influenced newspaper reporting upon political refugees, who became implicated in the alleged ‘abuse’ of the ‘right of asylum’.

AB - The widespread digitisation of their source base means that historians now face an overwhelming body of material. This historical ‘big data’ is only going to continue to expand, not just because digitisation features prominently on the agendas of institutions, but also because those studying late twentieth, and twenty-first century, history will have to deal with large quantities of ‘born digital’ material as they turn their gaze to the internet age. Although the interfaces currently used to access digital sources have their strengths, there is an increasing need for more effective ways for historians to work with large amounts of text. This thesis is one of the first studies to explore the potential of corpus linguistics, the computer-assisted analysis of language in very large bodies of text, as a means of approaching the ever-expanding historical archive.This thesis uses corpus linguistics to examine the representation of migrants in the British Library’s nineteenth-century newspaper collection, focusing specifically upon the discourses associated with ‘aliens’ and ‘refugees’, and how they changed over time. The nineteenth century saw an increase in global movement, which led to considerable legislative changes, including the development of many of Britain’s present-day migration controls. This thesis finds that ‘alien’ migration increased in topicality in the 1880s and 1890s and that ‘alien’ saw a striking shift in its associations that, significantly, coincided with an increase in, predominantly Jewish, migrants from the Russian Empire. Although only a small proportion of Britain’s ‘alien’ population, this group dominated newspaper reporting, which became characterised by increasingly negative language, including a strong association between the ‘alien’ and poverty. Although ‘refugee’ was often associated with more positive language than ‘alien’, this thesis finds that the actions of a small number of violent individuals influenced newspaper reporting upon political refugees, who became implicated in the alleged ‘abuse’ of the ‘right of asylum’.

KW - corpus

KW - corpus linguistics

KW - Big Data

KW - Digital Humanities

KW - Migration

KW - Immigration

KW - Aliens Act

KW - alien

KW - refugee

U2 - 10.17635/lancaster/thesis/963

DO - 10.17635/lancaster/thesis/963

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

PB - Lancaster University

ER -