From the illegal migrant-criminal to the illegal migrant-invader: Critical analysis of the semantic change of the Greek term λαθρομετανάστης 'illegal migrant'
Keywords:migrants, political correctness, critical discourse analysis, parliamentary discourse, semantic change, migration crisis, Greece
Following a critical discourse analysis (CDA) approach, the present study reports on the analysis of 49 texts from the Hellenic Parliament Proceedings, where the term λαθρομετανάστης “illegal migrant” is used. The texts under scrutiny date back to 2015 (i. e., the year the migration crisis reached its peak) and reveal the recontextualized use of this term, which is identified with the hegemonic national-racist discourse of the 1990s perceiving migrants as criminals. Since the 1990s, the term has been stigmatized by political correctness as racist and inaccurate. We consider political correctness as a type of corrective practice, since it detects naturalized language uses reproducing stereotypes and power relationships. We will examine how the re-emergence of the older, racist use of the term in question as a reaction against the guidelines of political correctness is anew connected with national-xenophobic discourse and, in particular, with framing migrants as invaders and a national threat. Overall, tracing the semantic trajectory of the term λαθρομετανάστης “illegal migrant” allows us to explore how language use at the micro-level is dialectically connected with discourses at the macro-level.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Nikos Stamatinis, Argiris Archakis, Villy Tsakona
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