Emerging stories: temporary protection visa holders and the creation of discursive spaces

Ana Maria Holas

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

This study examines the discursive representation of asylum seekers on temporary protection visas in the Australian print mass media in terms of cultural injustice on individual asylum seekers. The project uses a critical discourse analysis to investigate media texts, news stories and letters-to-the-editors that address asylum seekers arriving in Australia and, in counterpoint, interviews undertaken with asylum seekers on temporary protection visas. Texts are analysed from the perspective of critical theory and the critique of justice and ethics that has emerged in the field.

This study provides an opportunity to link theory and practice in studying issues of cultural justice since it examines the functions of discourse beyond its linguistic properties. It explores the responses, the effects, the negotiations of meaning and values involving asylum seekers on temporary protection visas and Australian citizens in and through the public sphere. This study focuses specifically on asylum seekers on temporary protection visas and does so from a perspective of an ethics of welcome to analyse how varying subjectivities are represented. It draws together a range of theories, including the work of Foucault, Levinas, Butler and Derrida, and undertakes the analysis by deploying Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis. This project analyses the distinction in how the subjectivities of asylum seekers are represented by Media on the one hand (in news and letters- to -the -editor) and, on the other, by the subjects themselves through interviews. This study aims to contribute to the ethical and political understanding of Australia’s identity defined by its relation to alterity, namely asylum seekers on temporary protection visas.

Asylum seekers’ narratives exemplify the extent to which they are prepared to exercise their ethical responsibilities towards Australian citizens and to assert the interdependency of our lives. The asylum seekers on temporary protection visas’ narratives proclaim their rights for cohabitation and justice by insisting on the need to be treated as equal human beings, and by offering the individual stories of their embodied experiences as abject Others, and to do this they inhabit the English language in the realisation that there is no home without adjacency.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2015

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