Discourse on immigration in the UK: representations and evaluations of Romanians and Bulgarians as ‘benefit tourists’

PhD Thesis

Demetriou, D. 2018. Discourse on immigration in the UK: representations and evaluations of Romanians and Bulgarians as ‘benefit tourists’. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University Faculty of Arts and Humanities
AuthorsDemetriou, D.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification namePhD

The aim of this thesis is to examine discourse on immigration within the UK in relation to the expiration of transitional restrictions for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens on 1st January 2014. In particular, the focal point of the study concerns the representation and evaluation of Romanians and Bulgarians as ‘benefit tourists’, alongside arguments de/legitimising welfare controls put forward by the UK government. The study will consider how these representations and evaluations are present within the Mail Online, analysing a series of articles and their corresponding public comments.

The thesis primarily draws upon the Discourse-Historical Approach to provide both a politically motivated as well as reflexive account of the discursive strategies used in the representation and evaluation of EU migrants vis-à-vis other social actors, and the de/legitimisation of restrictions and controls enforced (Reisigl and Wodak, 2001; 2016). Moreover, in an attempt to develop and extend the DHA’s view of ‘evaluation’ alongside ‘representation’, this thesis also incorporates with Martin and White’s (2005) Appraisal Theory.

Findings from this investigation show that the advancement of these representations and evaluations had further implications with regards to Britain’s position and identity within the EU. Not only was a Balkanist dichotomy between eastern and western EU member states constructed and reinforced, but also discourse on immigration was also inextricably linked to argumentation for Brexit. Furthermore, although new participatory structures can allow for resistance to emerge, the openness, scalability and anonymity of the Internet allowed for the spread of racist representations and evaluations which, in this case, constructed Romanians and Bulgarians (in particular) and EU migrants (in general) as the ‘Other’.

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Publication process dates
Deposited20 Jun 2019
Output statusUnpublished
Accepted author manuscript
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