Must they sing Nkosi Sikelel iAfrika or must they return fire : a critical analysis of discourses surrounding African migrants on South African online news and Facebook

Mohlomi, Marie Ann (2020-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Since 1994, xenophobic violence has become a regular occurrence in South Africa. (Matsinhe 2011:295) and xenophobic attitudes and discourse have been taken up and practiced by ordinary South Africans as well as those in powerful roles (Tella 2016:143). This study has relied on van Dijk’s socio-cognitive theory of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to examine the discursive construction of African migrants in South African online news articles and in Facebook comments. This thesis addresses the following research questions: (i) How are African migrants discursively constructed in South African online news articles that topicalise African migration and in the Facebook comments responding to those articles? (ii) Which themes are visible in these representations of African migrants in South African online news articles that topicalise African migration and in the Facebook comments responding to those articles? (iii) Which ideologies are visible in South African online news articles that topicalise African migration and in the Facebook comments that respond to those articles? (iv)Which discursive devices are used to construct these ideologies in South African onlinenews articles that topicalise African migration and in the Facebook comments that respond to those articles? The findings showed that migrants were discursively constructed, from a tolerant perspective, as valued individuals who suffer hardships in South Africa and as victims of xenophobic violence. In contrast, from an intolerant perspective, migrants were depicted as entering the country illegally, as being criminals and as being problematic for the country. In addition, the most common themes focused on the following: difficulties migrants face; the documentation of migrants and the enforcement of migration; crime and lawbreaking; and xenophobic behaviour and discourse. Also, two tolerant ideologies were repeated in the discourse. The first supported the interests of migrants in being allowed to work in South Africa, while the second ideology relied on the belief that South Africans and migrants are equals. In contrast, an intolerant ideology supported the interests of the South African group in having exclusive rights to jobs and businesses and strongly justified violence against African migrants. Finally, the following discursive devices were used to construct these ideologies: implication, necessity modalities, quantification, evaluative lexical items, the active voice, metaphors, and the rhetorical device of invoking categories of people with entitlements. In closing, this study has contributed to the understanding of xenophobic discourse and its resistance, on the topic of African migrants in South Africa, by investigating its role in online news and Facebook comments.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Sedert 1994 het xenofobiese geweld ’n gereelde gebeurtenis geword in Suid-Afrika (Matsinhe 2011:295) en xenofobiese houdings en taalgebruik is opgeneem en beoefen deur gewone Suid-Afrikaners asook diegene in magsposisies (Tella 2016:143). Hierdie studie het van Dijk se sosio-kognitiewe teorie van Kritiese Diskoersanalise (KDA) gebruik om ondersoek in te stel rakende die diskursiewe konstruksie van Afrika-migrante in Suid-Afrikaanse aanlyn-nuusartikels en in die kommentaar-seksie op Facebook. Hierdie tesis spreek die volgende navorsingsvrae aan: (i) Hoe word Afrika-migrante diskursief gekonstrueer in Suid-Afrikaanse aanlyn-nuusartikels wat Afrika-migrasie topikaliseer en in die Facebook-kommentare wat reageer op daardie artikels? (ii) Watter temas is sigbaar in hierdie verteenwoordigings van Afrika-migrante in Suid-Afrikaanse aanlyn-nuusartikels wat Afrika-migrasie topikaliseer en in die Facebook-kommentare wat reageer op daardie artikels? (iii)Watter ideologieë is sigbaar in Suid-Afrikaanse aanlyn-nuusartikels wat Afrika-migrasietopikaliseer en in die Facebook-kommentare wat reageer op daardie artikels? (iv) Watter diskursiewe tegnieke word gebruik om hierdie ideologieë te konstrueer in Suid-Afrikaanse aanlyn-nuusartikels wat Afrika-migrasie topikaliseer en in die Facebook-kommentare wat reageer op daardie artikels? Die bevindinge toon dat migrante diskursief vanuit ’n verdraagsame perspektief gekonstrueer word as gewaardeerde individue wat swaarkry in Suid-Afrika en as slagoffers van xenofobiese geweld. Hierteenoor, vanuit ’n onverdraagsame perspektief, word migrante voorgestel as individue wat die land onwettig binnekom, kriminele is en problematies is vir die land. Verder het die mees algemene temas gefokus op die volgende: moeilikhede wat migrante in die gesig staar; die dokumentering van migrante en die toepassing van migrasie; misdaad en wetsoortreding; en xenofobiese gedrag en taal. Twee verdraagsame ideologieë is ook herhaal in die diskoers. Die eerste het die belange van migrante ondersteun deurdat hulle toegelaat word om in Suid-Afrika te werk, terwyl die tweede ideologie staat gemaak het op die siening dat Suid-Afrikaners en migrante gelykes is. In kontras het ’n onverdraagsame ideologie die belange van die Suid-Afrikaanse groep ondersteun om eksklusiewe regte te hê tot beroepe en besighede, en het geweld teen Afrika-migrante ten sterkste geregverdig. Laastens is die volgende diskursiewe toestelle gebruik om hierdie ideologieë te konstrueer: implikasie, modale hulpwerkwoorde wat noodsaaklikheid aandui, kwantifikasie, evaluerende leksikale items, die aktiewe sinsvom, metafore, en die retoriese toestel waar kategorieë van menseregte gebruik word. Ter afsluiting, hierdie studie het bygedra tot ons begrip van xenofobiese diskoerse en sy weerstand, op die onderwerp van Afrika-migrante in Suid-Afrika, deur ondersoek in te stel na sy rol in aanlyn-nuus en Facebook se kommentaar-seksie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/108147
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