Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 10 Issue 5 (September/October 2000), Pages 343-431

The political discourse on immigration in southern Europe: a critical analysis (pages 373-389)


This study analyses the political discourse on immigration in Greece, Italy and Spain, with a view to highlighting how discourse is organised and, in particular, the use of ingroup and outgroup categories in it. It is hypothesised that talk on immigration involves a re‐elaboration of national identity and re‐definition of the ingroup/nation and outgroup/immigrant representation. Moreover, it is expected that immigrants are represented as Others, alien to the ingroup and, therefore, to be excluded from the host society. My aim here is to highlight the commonality of identity processes activated in different social‐historical contexts and analyse the connection between ingroup‐outgroup representations and the specific historical legacy and socio‐economic reality of a given country. Greece, Italy and Spain have been selected as a suitable set of case studies because they have recently been transformed from senders to hosts of migrants. The section that follows describes briefly the size of the immigration phenomenon in each country and the public policies adopted. The second section discusses the ingroup‐outgroup dynamics activated in immigration discourse from a sociological and a social psychological perspective. The third section concentrates on the analysis of political discourse, namely interviews with non‐governmental organisations, trade union representatives and public administration employees in Athens, Rome and Madrid. The methodology used is that of qualitative discourse analysis. Findings are discussed under the light of sociological and social psychological research on the issue. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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