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Type: Journal article
Title: Out of Africa: Accounting for refugee policy and the language of causal attribution
Author: Hanson-Easey, S.
Augoustinos, M.
Citation: Discourse and Society: an international journal for the study of discourse and communication in their social, political and cultural contexts, 2010; 21(3):295-323
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 0957-9265
Statement of
Scott Hanson-Easey and Martha Augoustinos
Abstract: The words of political elites have the potential to play a significant role in the constitution and proliferation of racist discourse, especially when this discourse has the nuanced linguistic characteristics of ‘new racism’. This article examines the political rhetoric deployed in the articulation and defence of contentious government policy on Sudanese humanitarian refugee quotas in media interviews. Utilizing critical discourse analysis, we analyse a corpus of seven political interviews and identify a number of pervasive discursive features. These include descriptions, categories and multidimensional causal narratives that characterize the Sudanese as young, violent (i.e. gang members) and uneducated; the construction of ‘culture as cause’ narrative; and the differential orientation to the term race. Through our analysis, we show how causal inference and category description function multifariously in political discourse, contending with situated issues of policy justification, accusations of racism and the allocation of blame which exclusively rests with African refugees. The role of causal formulations in racist discourse is discussed.
Keywords: accusations of racism
causal attributions
critical discourse analysis
political rhetoric
Rights: © The Author(s) 2010
DOI: 10.1177/0957926509360744
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 5
Psychology publications

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