Same Old News? A Critical Discourse Analysis of Migration News in British and German Broadsheet Journalism
thesisposted on 05.08.2020, 11:23 by Sandra Kaulfuss
During political campaigns or in response to crises, the topic of migration has dominated headlines in Germany and the UK for decades. While negative attitudes towards migration are not a modern-day phenomenon, previous research suggests that both German and British media discourses are increasingly hostile towards migrants. This thesis examines the nexus between migration discourses in political broadsheet reporting and the development of these discourses over time in relation to political events, by analysing broadsheet articles published between the aftermath of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and concluding on the day of the UK European Union Membership Referendum on June 23rd 2016. In response to two distinct research questions, this thesis establishes how migration is represented by journalistic discourses in broadsheet newspapers over time and how these discourses relate to political developments. The first question asks how discourse is used to report migration in political news in broadsheet papers in Germany and the UK, while the second question asks whether and how the discourse changes over time. To answer these questions, the theoretical framework of this research centres around the notion of Wagner-Pacifici's (2010) “Restlessness of Events”, defining events as interrelated changes over time which are contextualised through media representation. This approach allows changes to be tracked over time and complements the methodological approach of a Critical Discourse Analysis of German and UK broadsheet newspaper articles. The thesis argues that the discourse of migration reporting is predominantly hostile, reproducing a social hierarchy biased against migrants. It concludes that there are no significant changes in the discourse over time, creating and recreating political events that favour demarcation.