Deconstructing the Representation of Migration and Migrants through the Lens of Discourse-Historical Analysis: Tunisia as a Case Study

Authors

  • Ilias El Ofir Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences of Rabat, Mohammed V University
  • Azize Kour Assistant Professor at École Nationale Supérieure d'Informatique et d'Analyse des Systèmes (ENSIAS) in Rabat. Mohammed V University

Keywords:

Kais Saied, migration, critical discourse analysis, discourse-historical analysis, discursive strategies, representation, migrants, sub-Saharan migrants

Abstract

This paper seeks to operationalize critical discourse analysis (CDA) in order to deconstruct the representation of migration and migrants in speeches made by President Kais Saied of Tunisia. The importance and raison d'être of this study emanates from the controversial migration speech made by President Kais Saied on February 21st 2023 and the lack of research on the representation of migrants and migration in the political discourse of North African decision makers. Speeches made both before and after the aforementioned February 21st speech will be analyzed in order to uncover discursive strategies such as topoi, nominations and predicates, that were used to discursively represent migration and migrants. Analyzing such discursive strategies will bring to light the rationale(s) behind Kais Saied’s migration discourse. Moreover, the analysis of the aforementioned discursive strategies is a recommendation originating from the Discourse-Historical Analysis (DHA) approach to critical discourse analysis, which is the methodology that will be put to use to achieve the objectives of this study. The findings of this study indicate that non-inclusive discourse was not exclusively utilized to represent sub-Saharan migrants, but was also utilized to represent Tunisian migrants. Thus, linking such discourse to racist ideologies or far-right politics is not feasible based on the data at hand. Instead, consolidating power and controlling dissent seem to be the main rationales behind Kais Saied’s migration discourse. The paper recommends the use of inclusive discourse in regards to migration and migrants in order to promote the social acceptance of migrants and consequently improve their living conditions in host countries.

 

Keywords: Kais Saied, migration, critical discourse analysis, discourse-historical analysis, discursive strategies, representation, migrants, sub-Saharan migrants

Author Biographies

Ilias El Ofir, Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences of Rabat, Mohammed V University

Doctoral Student in the English Department of FLSH Rabat.

 

Azize Kour, Assistant Professor at École Nationale Supérieure d'Informatique et d'Analyse des Systèmes (ENSIAS) in Rabat. Mohammed V University

Professor at ENSIAS Rabat

English Department

Mohammed V University

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Published

31-12-2023