Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education
Migrants, COVID-19, and Italy: A Multimodal Critical Discourse Analysis of the Construction of and Resistance to Nationalist Discourses
Date of this Version
Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines www.cadaadjournal.com Vol 15 (1): 21 - 44
Migration has historically been a controversial issue around the world and one that has often been harnessed by people in power (or people hoping to gain power) for their own political agendas. In times of a global pandemic, the scapegoating of migrants has only increased, often rooted in nationalist ideologies which lead to policies and practices that harm migrants and the larger society. The present paper employs multimodal critical discourse analysis to explore how nationalist ideologies supported by right-wing populism are constructed visually and verbally during COVID-19 on Italian social media in regard to migration. We analyze Giorgia Meloni’s (leader of the nationalist party “Fratelli D’Italia”) Twitter thread discussing the arrival and detention of migrants in Italy in July-August 2020 as a representative sample of the discourse. Findings show one example of how nationalist discourses scapegoat migrants visually and verbally, but also how this discourse can be countered by the public via social media. Additionally, subtle details revealed in the visual analysis show the importance of multimodal research in un-packing ideologies that are easy to deny and hence more dangerous because of social media’s capacity to spread (mis)information.
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