The Backward Stock of the South: The metaphoric structuring of Italian racial difference in 1920s Australia

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Abstract

This paper examines the use of metaphors to construct Italian migration within the 1920s Australian press. Using a critical discourse analysis approach, the paper investigates the range of metaphors used to frame Italian migration, which were also applied to Asian migration in earlier decades. It finds that such metaphors were a racially coded means for constructing immigrant deviance and threat. It further finds that this threat construction was the means by which immigration restrictions were legitimised and the need to preserve White Australia reiterated. While there was some ambivalence as to the extent of danger posed by Italian immigration, the use of such metaphors to frame discussion illustrates the extent to which debates around Italian immigration were, at heart, anchored in ideas of race.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)440-459
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Intercultural Studies
Volume42
Issue number4
Early online date30 Jun 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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