Media, Migrants, and Mayhem: Newsprints’ Representation of African Refugees, Asylum Seekers and Foreign Nationals in South Africa during Periods of Violence

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 11:30
Oral Presentation
Tolu LANREWAJU, Rutgers University - Newark, USA
Xenophobic attacks in South Africa have resulted in over 100 deaths since 2000. Hundreds of refugees, asylum seekers, and foreign nationals have been displaced due to attacks and fear of persecution. Newsprint media has played an important role in representing and interpreting the events during the 2008 and 2015 xenophobic attacks. Yet, few studies have attempted a thorough investigation of the text used by newsprint media to represent refugees, asylum seekers and foreign nationals living in South Africa. To date, no studies have looked at their representation in international, transcontinental, national, and local newsprint sources comparatively. The proposed research project focuses on the media’s representation of refugees, asylum seekers, and foreign nationals in South Africa during the periods of mass violence in 2008 and 2015. The proposed study addresses a significant gap in literature with a mixed-methods approach -- employing analytical frameworks from Corpus Linguistics (CL) and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to quantitatively and qualitatively examine texts from articles in international, transcontinental, national and local newspapers during the periods of violence. As an introduction, the author provides a brief account of the global migration crisis with an emphasis on the growing population of displaced persons. An explanation of migration patterns in South Africa is also included for context and to argue the importance of the proposed project. Applying Van Dijk’s (2011) Ideological Square Model, specific cases from The New York Times International Edition, BBC Monitoring: Africa, The Sunday Times, and Cape Times are highlighted. The author concludes with a discussion of the findings, real-world implications and solutions to address any recurring issues of representation of refugees and migrants uncovered from the research.