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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:State narratives of 'foreignness' and 'criminality' in South Africa
Author:Tagwirei, Cuthbeth
Year:2016
Periodical:Communicatio: South African journal for communication theory and research (ISSN 1753-5379)
Volume:42
Issue:2
Pages:191-209
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:xenophobia
immigrants
violence
images
language usage
State-society relationship
Link:https://doi.org/10.1080/02500167.2016.1167751
Abstract:This article brings the notion of transfiguration to bear on the study of the 'unspeakable' identity of African migrants living in South Africa, in the context of state language games on violence perpetrated against these migrants. The significance of these discourses is explored, in particular how official and not-so-unofficial discourses on violence in South African media combine to make migrants simultaneously visible and invisible. Speaking about violence involving black non-South Africans, state functionaries tend to downplay the 'xenophobic' element while overplaying the link with motiveless crime. Nevertheless, the sense that the migrant, labelled 'foreigner', is to blame for all the problems is never far from the surface of these language games. The migrant is therefore enlisted into a discourse where s/he is transformed and subsequently forced to recognise him/herself as subject. As a victim of violence, the migrants find themselves inhabiting zones of discursive indistinction, where they are both victim and victimiser, criminal and crime victim. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]
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