Inclusion and exclusion of migrants and refugees are renegotiated in the European Union on almost a daily scale: ever new policies defining and restricting immigration are proposed by European member states. A return to more local policies and ideologies can be observed, on many levels: traditions, rules, languages, visions, and imaginaries are affected. I claim that we are currently experiencing a re/nationalisation in spite of (or perhaps because of) multiple globalising tendencies (Wodak 2015) as well as a normalisation of exclusionary rhetoric. Moreover, recent heated political debates across Europe, about citizenship, language tests related to citizenship and immigration, and the construction of the immigrant as ‘the post-modern stranger’, coincide with the global financial crisis, the ‘refugee crisis’, and the crisis of the welfare state. We are dealing with global and glocal developments (Wodak 2010, 2011). Post-nationalism (Heller 2011) and cosmopolitanism (Bauman 1999) have become utopian concepts. In my lecture, I will analyse recent developments in respect to immigration and asylum policies across Europe from a discourse-historical perspective, especially in respect to the current ‘refugee crisis’: The data - analysed both qualitatively and quantitatively - consist of a range of genres (focus group discussions, party programmes, TV documentaries, and election campaign materials).
Ruth Wodak is Em. Distinguished Professor of Discourse Studies at Lancaster University, UK. Besides many other prizes, she was awarded the Wittgenstein Prize for Elite Researchers in 1996. She was awarded the Kerstin Hesselgren Chair of the Swedish Parliament in 2008 and an Honorary Doctorate from University of Örebro in Sweden in 2010. In 2011, she was awarded the Grand Decoration in Silver for Services for the Austrian Republic. She is Past-President of the Societas Linguistica Europea, and member of the British Academy of Social Sciences and the Academia Europea. Recent book publications include The Politics of Fear. What Right-wing Populist Discourses Mean. (2015, London: Sage); The discourse of politics in action: ‘Politics as Usual’ (2011, Palgrave); Migration, Identity and Belonging (with G. Delanty, P. Jones, 2011), The Discursive Construction of History. Remembering the Wehrmacht’s War of Annihilation (with H. Heer, W. Manoschek, A. Pollak, 2008); The SAGE Handbook of Sociolinguistics (with B. Johnstone and P. Kerswill).
About the conference:
This conference explored immigration and migrant integration discourses and their influences on policy-making. The focus was on three countries: the UK, Germany and Russia. All three countries are important destination countries attracting large numbers of migrants and refugees. At the same time there are distinct differences in migration trajectories and responses across these three countries. The conference brought the different contexts of these three countries together, to gain new insights into a topic of great relevance to society, particularly in the context of the current refugee and migrant crisis.
Recorded: 05 November 2015
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