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Discourse in the United Kingdom on EU immigration: Analysis of Prime Minister David Cameron’s political language on EU immigrants between 2010 and 2015

Ágopcsa, Réka (2017) Discourse in the United Kingdom on EU immigration: Analysis of Prime Minister David Cameron’s political language on EU immigrants between 2010 and 2015. Corvinus Journal of International Affairs, 2 (1). pp. 17-30. DOI https://doi.org/10.14267/cojourn.2017v2n1a2

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Abstract

This article explores how immigration into the United Kingdom from the European Union became a negatively perceived “issue” in British public discourse and how the politicisation of EU immigration unfolded under the first Cameron (coalition) government, with special attention to the rhetoric of Prime Minister (PM) David Cameron. The paper assesses the role the PM’s political language and decisions played in constructing a negative image of EU immigrants in the above mentioned period. It does so by examining his speeches through Critical Discourse Analysis and defining the extent to which he politicised the phenomenon, as set out by the Copenhagen School’s theory of Securitisation. The paper consequently finds that between 2010 and 2015 Cameron’s political language adapted to the political pressures felt both within and outside his party, which as a result steered his rhetoric on EU immigration towards a growingly hostile and alienating direction. This was expressed through a political language that used overwhelmingly one-sided arguments, put more emphasis on the negative side of EU immigration, and often clearly differentiated between the “good” in-group (British citizens) and the “bad” out-group (EU immigrants). However, while the PM’s rhetoric largely contributed to the politicisation of the issue, it had no clearly identifiable securitising intent.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:immigration, discourse analysis, David Cameron, politicisation, securitisation
Subjects:Political science
International relations
DOI:https://doi.org/10.14267/cojourn.2017v2n1a2
ID Code:2655
Deposited By: Ádám Hoffmann
Deposited On:10 Feb 2017 13:07
Last Modified:23 Jan 2018 09:24

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