Språk och rasism : Privilegiering och diskriminering i offentlig, medierad interaktion

Sammanfattning: This PhD thesis concerns language and racism. The aim is to explore how racism is reproduced in interaction in public debates on immigration, integration and refugee policy. From a constructivist pragmatic perspective, language is considered as a practice that composes and makes sense of our social world and all the phenomena and individuals that we perceive in it. Racist discourses discriminate against and privilege people by categorising them according to notions of cultural, ethnical, racial, religious and national differences.The thesis has two main themes: 1) the linguistic reproduction of, and response to, racist discrimination and privileging in interaction, and 2) the role of language in various public arenas, and the norms and conditions for participation in these arenas. The thesis comprises five studies. Study I examines racist discourses and conditions for participation in an online newspaper comments section. Study II examines how the phrase “politically correct” is used and negotiated in the same comments section, and how its usage leads to the reproduction and normalisation of racism. Another comments section is the focus of Study III, in which discriminating and privileging categorisations of Muslims, Islam, Swedes and Sweden are analysed. Study IV examines an anti-racist forum on the social networking site Instagram. In the study, the reproduction of norms of whiteness is analysed, as well as power relations that are evoked, sustained and transformed in interaction. Finally, Study V is an analysis of linguistic, visual and material reproductions of political positions and racist discourses in a debate among party leaders on Swedish television.The thesis demonstrates how normalisation of racism is accomplished in interaction, and how reproduction of hierarchically structured difference and bigoted stereotypes are performed, and challenged, through language. The medium, combined with the user’s speech acts, set up the norms and conditions for participation, and for the discursive processes that reproduce the relations and structures of power.