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Type: Journal article
Title: New racism, meritocracy and individualism: constraining affirmative action in education
Author: Augoustinos, M.
Tuffin, K.
Every, D.
Citation: Discourse and Society: an international journal for the study of discourse and communication in their social, political and cultural contexts, 2005; 16(3):315-340
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
Issue Date: 2005
ISSN: 0957-9265
Statement of
Martha Augoustinos, Keith Tuffin, Danielle Every
Abstract: <jats:p> This article presents a discursive analysis of student talk on disadvantage and affirmative action from two focus group discussions on ‘race’ relations in Australia. Our analysis builds upon previous research in the discursive tradition on affirmative action and demonstrates how participants draw on resources, which construct affirmative action as largely problematic. Liberal principles such as individualism, merit, and egalitarianism were recurrently drawn upon to justify, argue and legitimate opposition to affirmative action. Speakers managed their opposition to affirmative action while presenting as fair, principled and lacking in prejudice. One argument, which was commonly deployed, constructed affirmative action as undermining meritocratic principles and ideals. This meritocratic discourse has a self-sufficient, taken-for-granted quality which participants assumed to be a moral and normative standard that needed to be protected and upheld. This argument was also associated with a closely related one that ‘everyone should be treated equally or the same’, regardless of social background. Although our analysis emphasizes the deployment of discursive resources that function primarily to uphold the ideals of meritocracy, individualism and equality, participants did produce talk that on occasion challenged the ideology of individual achievement and acknowledged the existence of Aboriginal disadvantage. We discuss how these contradictions are reflective of the competing values of egalitarianism and individualism in western liberal democracies like Australia and how the language of the ‘new racism’ is framed by such ideological dilemmas and ambivalence. </jats:p>
Keywords: affirmative action
new racism
Description: Copyright © 2005 SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0957926505051168
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 2
Psychology publications

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