Mediated intergroup conflict: The discursive construction of "illegal immigrants" in a regional u.s. newspaper

Craig O. Stewart, Margaret J Pitts, Helena Osborne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using an intergroup communication framework, this article examines how a newspaper in southeastern Virginia discursively constructs the "illegal immigrant" as a metonym for Latino immigrants. This mixed methods study traces the development of this newspaper discourse about illegal immigrants from1994 to 2006 using quantitative lexical analysis. It then shows how two local news events further instantiate an illegal immigrant metonymy influencing perceptions of Latinos, subsequent media discourse about immigration, and local immigration policies using critical discourse analysis. The quantitative findings suggest that news discourse focusing on (illegal) immigration tended to use lexical items low in optimism and commonality, consistent with out-group negativity. The qualitative findings show how two incidents involving "illegal immigrants" attached negative stereotypes to this category, which then potentially influenced perceptions of Latinos more broadly. This analysis shows some of the ways that media discourse influences perceived intergroup threats at the local and national levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-27
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Volume30
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Newspapers
Emigration and Immigration
newspaper
immigrant
Hispanic Americans
discourse
news
illegal immigration
outgroup
immigration policy
optimism
discourse analysis
Communication
stereotype
incident
immigration
Conflict (Psychology)
Undocumented Immigrants
Discursive Construction
Immigrants

Keywords

  • illegal immigration
  • intergroup communication
  • news discourse
  • social cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Mediated intergroup conflict : The discursive construction of "illegal immigrants" in a regional u.s. newspaper. / Stewart, Craig O.; Pitts, Margaret J; Osborne, Helena.

In: Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Vol. 30, No. 1, 03.2011, p. 8-27.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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