Us and them: how immigrants are constructed in British and Italian newspapers

Morley, John and Taylor, Charlotte (2012) Us and them: how immigrants are constructed in British and Italian newspapers. In: Bayley, Paul and Williams, Geoffrey (eds.) European Identity: what the media say. Oxford University Press, Oxford. ISBN 9780199602308

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In this chapter we focus on issues of identity as they relate to the construction of the ‘other’, or more precisely of foreign immigrants, in the press partitions of the British and Italian corpora. As Hastings and Manning argue: ‘[i]t has long been an anthropological truism that the construction of (ethnolinguistic) identity cannot be studied except at its boundaries, beginning with alterity or otherness’ (2004: 293). This is also in line with Hardt-Mautner’s statement that ‘[n]ational identity emerges very much as a relational concept, the construction of “self” being heavily dependent on the construction of “other”’ (1995: 179). By studying who is other we learn how we think of ourselves.

The two sections of the chapter both start with a brief historical overview of the way the press has dealt with immigration in the past in the relevant country before going on to make analyses of the most salient expressions referring to immigration in the IntUne Italian and UK press corpora. These analyses are based on building up collocational profiles by looking at the words which co-occur most frequently with these expressions, their collocates, first of all in the limited context of a concordance line, classically of 80 characters and, where necessary, in a larger context, frequently reading the whole article. We then examine how the ‘us’ of the title is constructed by identifying the significant collocates of the word our for English and nostr* for Italian. There is also a brief analysis of the metaphors and topoi related to immigration which appear in both waves of the UK and Italian press partitions of the IntUne Corpus. The chapter ends with a comparison of the construction of the immigrant in these two partitions.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature
Depositing User: Charlotte Taylor
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2013 11:06
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2013 16:27

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