Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Linguistic, Cultural, and Educational Issues of Roma, ed. Hristo Kyuchukov, Martin Kaleja and Milan Samko. München: LINCOM, 2014


Copyright (c) 2014 Theresa Catalano


Denaturalization is the act of making something appear less natural or less human which functions to “subordinate other living creatures to human beings” and “to justify denigration of certain groups of people” (Santa Ana 1999). In this study, the denaturalization of Romanies in Italy as represented in newspaper crime reports was identified and compared to the opposing naturalization of Italian crime organizations. This was accomplished through careful, multidisciplinary, scientific analysis of over 20 articles taken from Italian newspapers of assorted political tendencies from the years 2005-2010. A corpus analysis was conducted and lexical choices were categorized as denaturalization, naturalization or derogation. Examples from texts were then examined in depth to reveal linguistic (such as metaphor) strategies involved in negative or positive representation of these groups. A Critical Discourse Analysis Approach combined with Cognitive Linguistics was employed to reveal an underlying racist and xenophobic ideology that categorizes Romanies as “Them” in Italian media. At the same time, Italian crime organizations such as ‘Ndrangheta, Camorra, and Cosa Nostra are portrayed as “Us” and seen in a positive light. Both processes combine to serve the dominant group's purpose of staying in power.