Refugees and asylum seekers in Australian print media: a critical discourse analysis

Mayne-Davis, Jacinta, Wilson, Jessie, and Lowrie, Daniel (2020) Refugees and asylum seekers in Australian print media: a critical discourse analysis. Journal of Occupational Science, 27 (3). pp. 342-358.

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The occupational possibilities available to refugees and asylum seekers upon arrival in Australia are influenced by the discourses in Australian print media that shape knowledge, attitudes, and subjectivities, including which people and what occupations are ideal and possible. This paper sought to expose and challenge discourses constructing subjectivities and shaping the occupational possibilities or occupational injustices for refugees and asylum seekers within the Australian context. A critical discourse analysis of Australian local and national newspapers was conducted. A theoretical framework constructed from the work of Foucault and Fairclough was applied, with findings informed by an occupational science perspective. Three core subjectivities were identified in the print media discourse: wretched identities, suspicious fugitives, and cultural usurpers. These constructions highlighted the way in which discourses within the Australian print media can limit occupational possibilities for refugees and asylum seekers to those occupations relevant only to survival, surveillance, or assimilation. Implications for occupational possibilities may include occupationally restrictive boundaries upon resettlement and justification for excluding refugees and asylum seekers from Australian society. The disempowering nature of these subjectivities reflects aspects of Australian discourses that should be and can be challenged.

Item ID: 63605
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2158-1576
Copyright Information: © 2020 The Journal of Occupational Science Incorporated
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2020 02:23
FoR Codes: 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4702 Cultural studies > 470211 Migrant cultural studies @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9299 Other Health > 929999 Health not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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