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Discourses of Domination

Discourses of Domination: Racial Bias in the Canadian English-Language Press

Sean Hier
Joshua Grenberg
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 272
  • Book Info
    Discourses of Domination
    Book Description:

    Applying critical discourse analysis as their principal methodology, Frances Henry and Carol Tator investigate the way in which the media produce, reproduce, and disseminate racist thinking through language and discourse.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7394-6
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-16)

    Quotes such as the ones cited above, laced with negative images and meanings, can be found almost every day in Canadaʼs newspapers. We contend that these kinds of discourse are not isolated aberrations, but reflect a set of core assumptions, hypotheses, and world views held by many of those who work in the mass media. In this book we hope to shows how some members of the Canadian press give voice to racism, and how the media marginalize, denigrate, and silence ethnoracial minorities. When we speak of ʻthe mediaʼ as a collective institution, we do not mean to suggest that...

  5. PART I: Establishing a Social Context

    • 1 Theoretical Framework
      (pp. 19-38)

      The theoretical orientation we employ in this book on the (mis)representation of people of colour in the media is multidiscipUnary. It is influenced by the model of analysis of Teun van Dijk (1988a; 1991; 1993; 1998), by the seminal work of Hall and his colleagues at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, (1973; 1981; 1997), and by Wetherell and Potter (1992), among others¹. The field of knowledge it incorporates includes cultural studies, communications studies, discourse analysis, critical race theory² and antiracist perspectives. The Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies provided the framework for including media studies in the emerging field of...

    • 2 Review of the Canadian Literature on Racism in the Print Media
      (pp. 39-54)

      In this chapter we review and summarize the body of Canadian literature on racism in the media from the early 1980s to 2000 (see Henry et al., 2000, for a more detailed review of the literature on racism in the media that incorporates the electronic media and advertising).¹ Included in the present review are studies by scholars and communitybased organizations and the findings of government inquiries (for studies related to the racialization of crime turn to the case study on this subject). This overview also includes published writings and public presentations by people of colour who have worked in the...

    • 3 Representation in the Media: An Empirical Study
      (pp. 55-68)

      Critical to any discussion of racism in the media is the question of representation as it affects the experiences of minorities working in the media. Our analysis suggests that the media in Canada do not reflect the growing diversity of this country, either in their hiring practices or in their journalistic practices. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the employment arena; hardly any minority journalists are employed in the print and electronic media, and their representation does not reflect their numbers in society. With a few high-profile exceptions – CBC or affiliate anchors such as Ian Hanomansingh, Suhanna Marchand,...

  6. PART II: Case Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis

    • 4 The Methodology of Case Studies and Critical Discourse Analysis
      (pp. 71-77)

      We have chosen a case study approach for this book because it is a good way to present a concrete and detailed account of how some of the media reproduce racism. In taking this approach, we hope to encourage our readers to use the tools and resources reflected in these case studies to engage in similar kinds of study and reflection (see concluding chapter). As van Dijk (1998) notes, such a study requires the development of a systematic account of the various levels, structures, and strategies of text and talk as well as a diagnostic set of instruments for understanding...

    • 5 The Avery Haines Controversy
      (pp. 78-92)

      Avery Haines worked for eleven years at the radio station CFRB before joining CTV NewsNet. After working at the station for two months and while still on probation, she was giving an introduction to a taped report on aid to farmers when she flubbed a line. Knowing that that she could do the take again on another tape, she said to an off-camera staffer: ʻI kind of like the stuttering thing. Itʼs like equal opportunity, right? We got a stuttering newscaster. Weʼve got the Black, weʼve got the Asian, and weʼve got the woman. I could be a lesbian-folk-dancing-Black-woman stutterer.’...

    • 6 Globe and Mail Editorials on Employment Equity
      (pp. 93-108)

      In this case study we analyse theGlobe and Mail’s discourse on the subject of employment equity. Using two different forms of critical discourse analysis (CDA), we examine how that newspaper through its editorials sustains an anti-equity ideological position. The first form of CDA we apply utilizes a macro-level framework to explore the erroneous assumptions, myths, and misrepresentations that underpin theGlobe’s editorials. This will help illuminate how ʻtextʼ and ʻtalkʼ (van Dijk, 1988) are used to promote, support, and communicate a particular ideology – in effect, to maintain the power held by White, able-bodied males. TheGlobeuses a...

  7. PART III: Immigration Discourse

    • [PART III Introduction]
      (pp. 109-110)

      The next chapters offer case studies on the issue of immigration. In chapter 5 we focus onThe National Postbecause many ethnoracial communities see it as having a strong anti-immigrant bias. It is also one of the two national newspapers published in Canada. The first case study in chapter 5 looks specifically at a number of articles about immigration written by one columnist, Diane Francis. The second considers how thePosthas racialized the Tamil community; this analysis includes news stories, columns, and editorials.

      Van Dijk (1998) provides an ideological schema for everyday text and talk as it relates...

    • 7 The National Post’s Discourse on Immigration, Refugees, and the Tamils
      (pp. 111-137)

      In this chapter we examine the coverage of immigration as published in theNational Post. This newspaper was selected for intensive analysis because of its well-known anti-immigration perspective. We begins by offering some examples of how theNational Postdeals with immigration issues; then we focus on two case studies. The first case study examines a series of articles written by thePostʼs featured columnist on immigration and refugee issues, Diane Francis. The second case study deals exclusively with thePostʼs targeted coverage of Canadaʼs Tamil community.

      A search of thePostarchives between December 1998 and the end of...

    • 8 News Discourse and the Problematization of Chinese Migration to Canada
      (pp. 138-162)
      Sean Hier and Joshua Greenberg

      In this chapter we draw on the concept of moral panic to discuss the relationship between the growing presence of the Chinese in Canada, news discourse, and the problematization of nearly 600 migrants who arrived in Canada from July to September 1999. The following is based on the assumption that news coverage acts as a ‘discursive space’ in which social agents struggle to penetrate the narratives around which news is constructed. By studying coverage of the migrants, we can learn a great deal about how Canadians construct and reconstruct their collective national identity – in particular, how they designate who...

    • 9 The Racialization of Crime
      (pp. 163-202)

      The strategies employed by the media to construct crime reflect the selectivity of news personnel and the news media to crime, the role of news values – that is, which crimes have higher news value (typically, murders and other violent offences) – and the routines and practices established in the industry. The publicʼs view of crime reflects what the media think is newsworthy. Members of the public do not ordinarily have first-hand experience or knowledge of crime. It follows that the world of criminal activity is constructed for them by the media.

      Hall et al. (1975, 1978) note that news...

  8. PART IV: First Nations People in the Print Media

    • [PART IV Introduction]
      (pp. 203-204)

      In this section we analyse the misrepresentation of First Nations People in some of the print media. Native groups and communities have tried many strategies to reduce bias and achieve some form of more balanced news reporting in the Canadian print media, but with little success. The Native Action Committee on the Media (NACOM) has pursued a number of avenues to deal with racism in the press, including petitioning the courts, lobbying ‘power-brokers,ʼ and utilizing government regulatory bodies whenever possible. NACOM has urged newspapers to move away from ʻself-serving, negative, or racist commentary to more equitable and balanced reporting and...

    • 10 Media Discourse Involving First Nations Peoples
      (pp. 205-224)

      In this case study we present a discourse analysis of an event in Saskatchewan involving the sexual assault of a young, unidentified First Nations woman several years ago by Jack Ramsay, a member of Parliament. We analyse three newspapers:The Globe and Mail, theSaskatoon Star Phoenix, and theRegina Leader Post.

      In central and eastern Canada, media coverage of minorities has generally focused on ʻimmigrantʼ minorities; in contrast, in the Western provinces such press coverage has generally focused on First Nations peoples, in particular, their alleged criminal behaviour. All minorities suffer from roughly the same ill treatment at the...

  9. Conclusions
    (pp. 225-240)

    In this book we have explored in a number of ways the nature and extent of racialized discourse in the media. We have incorporated the following approaches: a review and analysis of Canadian research over the past two decades on racism in the media; a review of the body of literature emerging from other countries, drawing on the work of scholars in the United States, Britain, Australia, and the Netherlands; and empirical study of the perceptions and experiences of minorities working in the media. Finally, we have employed critical discourse analysis to explore several discursive events and crises that received...

  10. Glossary
    (pp. 241-250)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 251-258)
  12. References
    (pp. 259-272)
  13. Index
    (pp. 273-291)