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Media Portrayal of Immigration in the South African Media, 2011-2015

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The issue of media representation of immigrants is particularly pertinent today, given the current anti-immigrant sentiment in parts of Europe and the United States. In South Africa, negative attitudes towards foreigners are common and media discursive descriptions of immigrants as illegal, undocumented or a dangerous threat is typical. This study utilises quantitative tools of analysis to explore the media coverage of immigration adopting the RASIM Corpus Linguistics (CL) approach. The rubric – REFUGEE, ASYLUM-SEEKER, IMMIGRANT, MIGRANT is adjusted to RASFIM – REFUGEE, ASYLUM-SEEKER, FOREIGNER, IMMIGRANT, MIGRANT – to more appropriately account for the the specific nuances of representations of immigrants in the South African media. The data, comprising of over 5,000 relevant media articles, was drawn in annual tranches for the period 2011-2015. Our findings identify significant patterns that are consistent with extant literature on media constructions of foreigners as “illegal immigrants.” Other findings relating to “shop” and “trade” references offer evidence of the complex and at times contradictory nature of public discourses on immigration. Media narratives go as far as to suggest that foreign- owned shops are fronts to conceal “drug-dealing” and other “illicit activities.”

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Media Portrayal of Immigration in the South African Media, 2011-2015

  1. 1. Working Paper June 2017 Media Portrayal of Immigration in the South African Media, 2011–2015
  2. 2. Published by: The Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) 47, Commercial St. 8001, Cape Town www.sihma.org.za Design: Ink Design Publishing Solutions, Cape Town, South Africa www.inkdesign.co.za
  3. 3. Working Paper June 2017 Media Portrayal of Immigration in the South African Media, 2011–2015
  4. 4.  4 The issue of media representation of immigrants is particularly pertinent today, given the current anti- immigrant sentiment in parts of Europe and the United States. In South Africa, negative attitudes towards foreigners are common and media discursive descriptions of immigrants as illegal, undocumented or a dangerous threat is typical. This study utilises quantitative tools of analysis to explore the media coverage of immigration adopting the RASIM Corpus Linguistics (CL) approach. The rubric – REFUGEE, ASYLUM- SEEKER, IMMIGRANT, MIGRANT is adjusted to RASFIM – REFUGEE, ASYLUM-SEEKER, FOREIGNER, IMMIGRANT, MIGRANT – to more appropriately account for the the specific nuances of representations of immigrants in the South African media. The data, comprising of over 5,000 relevant media articles, was drawn in annual tranches for the period 2011 – 2015. Our findings identify significant patterns that are consistent with extant literature on media constructions of foreigners as “illegal immigrants.” Other findings relating to “shop” and “trade” references offer evidence of the complex and at times contradictory nature of public discourses on immigration. Media narratives go as far as to suggest that foreign- owned shops are fronts to conceal “drug-dealing” and other “illicit activities.” Keywords: South Africa, immigration, media, representation, quantitative analysis Authors: Nixon Kariithi, Aquilina Mawadza and Sergio Carciotto Abstract
  5. 5.  5 Contents 1 Introduction����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������6 2 Media portrayal of immigrants around the globe�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������8 3 The media landscape in South Africa������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������9 4 Media portrayal of immigrants in South Africa���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������10 5 Data and methodology����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������12 5.1 Data sourcing and initial preparation��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������12 5.2 Corpus Linguistic analysis ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������12 6 Limitations of the study�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������14 7 Data analysis ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������16 7.1 Data analysis, key terms and collocates��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������17 7.2 Use of Refugee in the South African print media language�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������18 7.3 Use of Immigrant in the South African print media language�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������20 7.3.1 Illegality frames ���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������21 7.4 Use of Asylum-Seeker in the South African print media language���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������22 7.5 Use of Foreigner in the South African print media language���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������23 7.6 Use of Shop/Trade in the South African print media language����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������25 7.7 Lemmas analysis of the 2011 – 2015 media content data���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������27 8 Conclusions and implications�������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������29 9 References�����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������30
  6. 6.  6 1 Introduction In the milieu of globalization, immigration has become a significant issue for many countries, and South Africa is no exception. Like most countries that have better economic standing, South Africa has seen a rising abhorrence of immigrants. Immigration has also become a highly politicized issue in Britain, as it has in the United States and elsewhere. The United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union and the recent election of Donald Trump as President of the United States has once again reignited the immigration debate globally. Since the 1990s, South Africa seems to be in the midst of an anti-immigrant sentiment particularly against fellow African nationals. These tensions, largely understood as a xenophobic issue, have been exacerbated by unemployment and poor service delivery that have caused tensions between immigrants and local communities. Xenophobic attacks against African immigrants have also raised questions about the representation of these immigrants in local news as media narratives of immigrants as “illegal”, “undocumented”, or a “dangerous threat” are typical in South Africa. The recurring themes of irregular migration, violence and crime frame immigration as a threat to the safety, livelihoods and economic well-being of the South African public. If immigrants are represented as a threat, then South Africans are more likely to endorse negative attitudes toward them. Media houses in South Africa play an active role by disseminating the news of what they perceive as illegal activities of migrants, further putting pressure on the government and the institutional apparatus to act. By portraying a link between immigration and crime, the media can intensify public opinion and promote moral panic. The media both reflect and contribute to the ways in which the debate over irregular migration is processed and understood. Specifically, the way in which the media package arguments, plays an important role in how social and political issues, such as immigration, are presented in the national debate. In a meta-review of the role of South Africa’s media coverage of xenophobia, Smith (2009) concluded that the majority of print media articles are anti-immigration, or at least make negative references to immigrants, are of an un-analytical/simplistic approach, with little in-depth analysis, persist in using certain labels and perpetuate negative stereotypes about migrants using such terms as “job stealers,” “criminals,” and “illegals”. While causal links between public opinion and media reporting are not always clear, it can be argued that the media shape attitudes of policymakers through highlighting certain aspects of migration and not others by using particular language. In this way, the media do not only provide facts about migration but also give a sense of how the information should be interpreted (Chappell et al 2011). Using a quantitative approach and a data corpus covering the period 2011 – 2015, this paper analyses 920,769 words from over 5,000 relevant media articles. Our primary objective is to establish the existence of pertinent trends or patterns of media representations of immigrants using quantitative techniques, as demonstrated by numeous studies of media content in Europe and the Americas. The RASIM corpus linguistic (CL) approach – as formulated by Baker et al (2008) from the University of Lancaster – adopts “refugees”, “asylum-seekers”, “immigrants” and “migrants” as the key words for the searches on media content portals. We further examine media representations of refugees’ economic survival in the South
  7. 7.  7 African economy, the emergence of ‘spaza’1 shops operated by refugees, media constructions and deconstructions of a business-owning refugee class, and the framing of business competition and conflict between refugees and black South Africans. The data is analyzed using TLAB and Sketch Engine statistical software packages. TLAB is a specialized quantitative textual data analysis tool that is recognized for its capabilities in handling large corpora. The analysis was repeated using Sketch Engine, another large-scale text-processing software. The results from both statistical excursions did not present any significant differences. Our wide-ranging data analysis offers numerous findings consistent with extant literature on media representations from other parts of the world. We find evidence that the South African media portray immigration as a threat to the livelihoods and economic well-being of local communities. We also note that the media do not acknowledge how immigrants have rejuvenated the entrepreneurial spirit in South African townships but instead use “exclusionary frames.” Our quantitative analysis concludes that small business ownership is one of the most contested issues in immigration discourse in South Africa. A further analysis of linguistic lemmas adopted for small business and other related terms generates significantly high frequencies and net scores. The linguistic collocation analysis indicates positive associations of foreign- owned shops with illicit dealings and criminality. Our analysis finds that discourses of success, good business acumen and survival are not highlighted; rather, the media portray immigrants as unwanted guests and an economic threat. Evidence of negative economic impact includes draining the economy of scarce resources, and operating spaza shops that deprive local communities of business opportunities. Such media representations fall short of the link between economic migrants and valued talents. Furthermore, most representations suggest predominantly negative associations between immigration and economic development, rather than perceive migrants as economic assets, as noted in other studies (for example, Blinder and Allen 2015). As in previous studies (for example, Danso and McDonald 2001; Blinder and Allen 2015; Ramaprasad et al 2015), our investigation confirms that the economic frame occupies a prominent place in the South African media, but only in as far as it reinforces persistent concerns of significant economic drain by immigrants. Our analysis finds that discourses of success, good business acumen and survival are not highlighted; rather, the media portray immigrants as unwanted guests and an economic threat. Evidence of negative economic impact includes draining the economy of scarce resources, and operating spaza shops that deprive local communities of business opportunities. 1 A small informal shop in a township, often run from a private house.
  8. 8. Media portrayal of immigrants around the globe 8 2 Media portrayal of immigrants around the globe Quantitative analysis of media representations of immigrants is by no means a recent phenomenon, but this has predominantly been done outside the African continent. For instance, Hollinsworth (1998) chronicles extensive negative stereotypes of non-British immigrants by the Australian popular press in the late nineteenth century. The texts comprised sensational articles and cartoons warning of the “Asian” threat to the social and moral well-being on an emerging Australia. The Bulletin, Australia’s main weekly newspaper from 1893, declared “Australia for the White Man – with the cheap Chinamen, the cheap nigger, and cheap European pauper to be absolutely excluded,” Hollinsworth (1998:103). The past decade has seen increased interest among media scholars in studying the representations of migrants. Some studies (for instance, ter Wal 2002; Cisneros 2008;) reveal a host of negative representations, the most prominent being “economic burden”, “increased crime”, and “moral erosion” of different indigenous cultures. Few studies indicate positive frames in media representations, for example, that news media tend to be less stereotypical in their representations of migrants, or that immigrants get more positive labels (ter Wal, 2002). Studies show that as a result of media commercialization and content sensationalization, global media have tended to create negative public perceptions of immigrants. Such distorted ideologically-potent messages in turn skew media discourses at numerous levels, and eventually play pivotal roles in shaping images of migrants both in countries of origin and destination. Thompson (1995) argues that through biased reporting, media houses create myths that all immigrants head for the developed world; that the majority of migrants are desperate, poor people from Third World countries; that immigration is detrimental while emigration is beneficial; and that developed countries do not need low-skilled labour of migrants. Furthermore, the media debates on immigration often use language that evokes the theme of “invasion”, in which stories on economic migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers are unconsciously collocated with reports associating these communities with such “foreign threats” as wars, drugs and crime.
  9. 9. The media landscape in South Africa 9 3 The media landscape in South Africa South Africa is a media-savvy country with a remarkably well developed media, unlike its peers in the region and the African continent in general. Most studies (for example, Berger 2002; 2004; Boloka 2003) attribute this apparent sophistication to the country’s robust apartheid-era economic development, propelled by the discerning white middle class, rapid commercialization (supporting advertising) and the generally high living standards. These factors were found to explain the birth and proliferation of large media conglomerates – like Naspers, Times Media Group, Perskor, Argus Newspapers that controlled significant market segments. While the media has retained its vibrancy, post-apartheid growth patterns have produced radical consolidation and a new organizational character that promoted content pluralism at the expense of diversity and choice (numerous studies in the political economy tradition have amply discussed these commercialization trends, e.g., Berger 2004; Boloka 2003; Wasserman 2008; 2010). The print and broadcast media are relatively open and reflect the country’s diversity in respect of languages; all the official languages are used. However, Friebel et al (2013) argue that English is the most commonly used language, more so in print media and television. Freedoms of expression and of the press are protected in the constitution and are generally respected in practice. The emergence of tabloid newspapers is a recent development in the South African print media scene, dating back to 2001 and 2002 when the first Sunday tabloids emerged (Wasserman and Du Bois 2006; Wasserman 2008; 2010).
  10. 10. Media portrayal of immigrants in South Africa 10 4 Media portrayal of immigrants in South Africa As noted by Tevera and Crush (2010:1) “one of the major features of South African media reporting on migration in the 1990s was the emergence of a homogenizing discourse in which all migrants (documented or undocumented, male or female, skilled or unskilled) were lumped into overarching categories such as “aliens,” “illegals” and “foreigners” and no substantive distinction was made between migrants from different parts of the continent or globe. A report by Danso and McDonald (2001) discusses the South African print media’s coverage of cross-border migration in the post-apartheid period. It is based on a survey that was the first and most comprehensive of its kind ever undertaken in the country from all English- language newspapers between 1994 and 1998. The report presents both a quantitative and qualitative analysis of this media coverage and offers a set of recommendations on how the press could improve its reportage in the future. In summary, the study argues that coverage of international migration by the South African press has been largely anti-immigrant. The report states that, while not all reportage is negative, and newspaper coverage would appear to be improving, the majority of the newspaper articles, editorials and letters to the editor surveyed for this research are negative about immigrants and immigration. They are extremely unanalytical, uncritically reproducing problematic statistics and assumptions about cross- border migration. In light of these considerations, media in South Africa are often labelled as responsible for hostile and unfriendly public attitudes towards immigrants (Niemandt 2013) and have been criticized of being involved in anti-immigration publicity. The 2015 General Houshold Survey (StatsSA 2016) revealed that about 3,5 million South Africans, especially those from rural areas, are illiterate and therefore do not have first-hand information about foreign nationals. As a result, they rely heavily on third party information, especially from the media for news and issues pertaining to immigration. Mawadza and Crush (2010) found that media often report the arrival of immigrants in South Africa as “influx”, “waves” and “hordes”, and that immigrants are commonly homogenized and classified as “aliens” and “illegal” or “foreigners”. These discursive labels are potential catalysts for violence and attacks on immigrants. Wasserman (2010) and Maharaj (2010) opine that South African tabloids like The Daily Sun, The Voice, Daily News and Sunday Sun promote sensationalism, anti-immigrant sentiment and “even give unlimited freedom to xenophobic reporters”. According to Wasserman (2008; 2010), such newspapers have repeatedly tapped into widespread xenophobic attitudes among local communities, and then sensationally repeated and amplifed them. Wasserman points out that “clamp-down operations” on “illegal aliens” receive prominent and gleeful coverage, while foreign nationals are routinely associated with crime. There are also persistent distinctions of “us” and “them” in tabloid texts fueling waves of moral panic. What is clear is that more than any other media in South Africa, tabloids play an elevated role in the daily lives of their readers (Wasserman 2010).
  11. 11. Media portrayal of immigrants in South Africa 11 Balanced media reporting is premised on avoiding single issue headlines, over/under representation of a particular group, or generalization. It also implies recognition that migrants are diverse, that migration is often linked to many other issues (Soroka et al 2012). In South Africa, the media typically present limited perspectives on cross-border migration, thereby leaving South Africans in the dark about the sheer complexities of this global and age-old phenomenon. Indeed some researchers have suggested that the media have inadvertently contributed to the spasmodic xenophobic attacks, through production and reproduction of myths and socially-constructed narratives around foreign nationals. The media fail to make a distinction between different types of immigrants, and generally broad-brush immigrants as “illegal aliens”, and use heavily-loaded phrases like “influx, “floods,” “waves” or hordes” in describing their movement. The emerging picture of a moral panic buttresses claims that immigrants are a negative cost to South Africa simply on the basis of the benefits they purportedly receive. There are only sparse frames outlining positive contributions of immigrants to the South African fiscus. Immigrants are also blamed for rising crime and unemployment, as well as for taking jobs and accepting lower pay and work. In South Africa, the media typically present limited perspectives on cross-border migration, thereby leaving South Africans in the dark about the sheer complexities of this global and age- old phenomenon. Indeed some researchers have suggested that the media have inadvertently contributed to the spasmodic xenophobic attacks, through production and reproduction of myths and socially-constructed narratives around foreign nationals. The emerging picture of a moral panic buttresses claims that immigrants are a negative cost to South Africa simply on the basis of the benefits they purportedly receive. There are only sparse frames outlining positive contributions of immigrants to the South African fiscus. Immigrants are also blamed for rising crime and unemployment, as well as for taking jobs and accepting lower pay and work.
  12. 12. Data and methodology 12 5 Data and methodology 5.1 Data sourcing and initial preparation The database on media representations of immigrants in South Africa was generated from LexisNexis media content portal searches. The LexisNexis media content portal has been utilized as a source for many major quantitative studies. Among the advantages noted by researchers are the portal’s consistency in data availability and relative ease in drawing the relevant files. The data was drawn in annual tranches, using the RASIM rubric – REFUGEE, ASYLUM-SEEKER, IMMIGRANT, MIGRANT – as the key search words. LexisNexis allows the simultaneous RASIM search and produces results that may be easily exported to MS WORD and other word processing software. The final database comprises media content for the period January 2011 to December 2015. The content represents coverage from 25 daily and weekly newspapers, including all major South Africa print titles. The newspapers used in this paper appear in Table 1 below. The corpus includes about 920,769 words from newspaper articles, including articles that appeared in tabloid newspapers such as the Daily Sun which has grown significantly in the last few years, and is the biggest daily in South Africa by far. Table 1: SOUTH AFRICAN PRINT MEDIA INCLUDED IN THE STUDY Business Day Sunday Tribune Cape Argus/Argus Weekend Sunday World Cape Times The Herald Daily Dispatch The Independent on Saturday Daily News The Mercury Financial Mail The New Age Mail Guardian The Star Post/Weekend Post The Sunday Independent Pretoria News/Pretoria News Weekend The Times/Sunday Times Sowetan 5.2 Corpus Linguistic analysis This study utilizes advanced quantitative tools of analysis to explore more nuanced issues in the media coverage data. Extant literature points to the use of research methods such as cluster analyses, correlational analysis, and principal component analysis (factor analysis) to investigate the extent to which media-specific factors and/or contextual factors help explain various strands of the immigrant social phenomena. Such phenomena could be those already identified in qualitative studies in South Africa or others noted in global studies (e.g. nationalism, prejudice, immigrant segregation/assimilation debates). Quantitative methodologies such as Okólski (2012), Reitz (2007), Pitkin Derose et al (2009) have been instrumental in providing fresh and unique insights in a variety of empirical questions that were premised upon qualitative research techniques in the first instance. Empirical evidence in extant literature answers questions relating to immigration and modernization studies, employment success studies, health care
  13. 13. Data and methodology 13 access, political and economic incorporation, education and social attainment, acculturation and quality of life studies, and studies interrogating social rights debates. Other quantitative studies on immigrant issues, for example Waters (2011), Goldenberg et al (2001) have successfully utilized time series (longitudinal) and cross-sectional and multi-country research techniques. While the bulk of these studies have been done in North America and European contexts by resident researchers, the topics themselves have been holistic, embracing many issues relating to Asian, Latino and even African immigrants. Given the robust use of qualitative techniques to study media representations, it is interesting that no systematic research in Southern Africa has been noted to employ such techniques. As stated earlier, this study adopts the RASIM corpus linguistic (CL) approach – refugees, asylum- seekers, immigrants or migrants – as formulated by Baker et al (2008) from the University of Lancaster. Baker et al (2008) successfully used the RASIM approach to analyse a corpus of British news articles comprising 140-million words from UK newspapers dating between January 1996 and October 2005. While corpus linguistic approaches have grown popular amongst scholars over the past decade, Baker et al (2008) offer a useful aspect of CL by focusing on two conceptual notions, namely, keyness and collocation. Keyness is defined as “the statistically significantly higher frequency of particular words or clusters in the corpus under analysis in comparison with another corpus, either a general reference corpus, or a comparable specialized corpus” (Baker et al 2008:302). They further add that by grouping together key words relating to specific topics, meta-phors or topoi (as ascertained through concordance analysis), it is possible to create a general impression of the presentation of RASIM in newspapers. Consistent with corpora linguistics trends, this study focuses on collocation analysis as the primary method of data analysis. Collocation, defined by Sinclair (1991) as the above-chance frequent co-occurrence of two words within a pre-determined span, investigates the occurrence of specific terms or phrases five words or so on either side of the word under investigation, referred to as the node. In their book on media representations, Baker et al (2013), argue that the statistical calculation of collocation is based on the frequency of the node, the frequency of the collocates, and the frequency of the collocation. Because the collocates of a node contribute to its meaning they can provide “a semantic analysis of a word”, and “convey messages implicitly” (Nattinger and DeCarrico 1992 cited in Baker et al 2008:278). Hunston (2002) argues that collocation needs to be seen as a lexical relation better discernible in the analysis of large amounts of data, and, conversely, less accessible to analysis of a small number of texts. She further added that because the collocates of a node contribute to its meaning, they can provide “a semantic analysis of a word”, but can also “convey messages implicitly” (Hunston 2002 cited in Baker et al 2008:278). Furthermore, “the meaning attributes of a node’s collocates can provide a helpful sketch of the meaning or function of the node” (ibid). Data extracted from the Lexis Nexis portals using these key words/phrases was coded for systematic quantitative analysis. The data was initially subjected to keyness and collocation tests, establishing spike patterns and correlational occurrences. Coding of the raw data was done in plain text (.txt) and Microsoft Excel (.xlsx) formats. Trained individuals coded occurrences of the above words/phrases, as well as other contextual information needed for additional empirical investigations. Such contextual information included the metadata of a particular news item (source, date, and author) and presence/absence of critical actors/institutions in the general immigrant discourse.
  14. 14. Limitations of the study 14 It is widely acknowledged by quantitative linguistics researchers that optimal results are best derived from initiatives that combine both quantitative and qualitative techniques (for example, see a detailed discussion of limitations to quantitative analysis in Blinder and Allen 2015). Some limitations to quantitative analysis are general in nature, requiring researchers to operationalize research designs to best account for these challenges. In our specific case, the use of corpus linguistics needed to take into account the specificities of the South African media as well as limitations borne from utilizing automated analyses of large media corpora. As stated earlier in this paper,the South African media industry is remarkably well developed,unlike its peers in the region and the African continent in general. However, the vibrant media industry promotes content pluralism and actively sharing content at the expense of diversity and choice (numerous studies in the political economy tradition have amply discussed these commercialization trends, e.g., Berger 2004; Boloka 2003; Wasserman 2008; 2010). The implications of these trends for our study are profound: the South African print media heavily duplicates content across different titles in the same corporate group. For corpus linguists, this duplication can be frustrating as it takes away specific nuances that would have been otherwise discernible in content generated in-house by each newspaper title. For example,a news item by The Star newspaper on xenophobic violence in Johannesburg would run verbatim in four other sister titles – the Pretoria News, Cape Argus, Cape Times, and Daily News. Similarly, an item in the Sowetan would also appear in The Herald and the Daily Dispatch. This pattern is repeated in the Afrikaans press, with Die Beeld, Die Burger, and Volksblad. While content sharing does not necessarily mean a failure to cover specific newsworthy events, it means a fairly significant duplication of news content in the database. Such content duplication, even though legitimate, does have the unintended consequence of skewing data findings and conclusions. We have chosen to eliminate multiple entries of a single article to minimize opportunities of data skewness. In a long-term study such as this one, encompassing all major national media, we believe eliminating content duplication does not attenuate the trends and patterns that are the subject of the research question. A second limitation relates to South Africa’s media market segmentation, compared to markets such as the UK, US, Scandinavia and Australia, where recent corpus linguistic studies have tapped into this market structuration. The emergence of tabloid newspapers (as opposed to the so-called quality newspapers) is a fairly new development in the South African print media scene, dating back to 2001 and 2002 when the first Sunday tabloids emerged. While South Africa’s tabloid newspapers were instant commercial successes, their integration into formal content structures has been slow. Until a few years ago, the Daily Sun did not have a comprehensive online presence and instead preferred to push content via mobi sites (specifically targeting smartphone and tablet users rather than traditional online audiences accessing the internet on PCs). Competing tabloids, for instance The Voice and Die Son, are also only available in print editions, and have limited online presence. 6 Limitations of the study
  15. 15. Limitations of the study 15 The implications of these market penetration strategies for this study are also worth noting. With their content limited to hard-copy editions, South Africa’s tabloids are difficult to include in a corpus linguistics study that quintessentially requires content in a soft format. Future corpus linguistic studies may not have this, given that the Daily Sun and three Sunday tabloids are now available in searchable PDF formats, albeit limited to just a few months. But the content digitisation trend is encouraging. In some ways, the removal of tabloids from this study “side-steps” some interesting research questions such as what similiraties and differences exist among sections of the press. While outside the scope of this study, future investigations may benefit from an emerging school of South African tabloid newspaper research (see, for instance, Strelitz and Steenveld 2005; Wasserman and Du Bois 2006; Wasserman 2008; 2010). Interrogating the nature and character of South African tabloids would greatly assist in establishing the extent to which the titles fit Blinder and Allens’ (2015) typology of “tabloids”, “mid-markets”, and “broadsheets”. Outside of a typology of print media content character such as the one imputed above, it is extremely difficult to infer such a structure on the South African print media. As extant studies demonstrate, the print titles routinely share reporters, photographers and their daily output (stories and pictures). Indeed, anecdotal evidence of editorial staff movement between these publications also exists. In sum, this study commences on the premise that the South African media content corpus captured for this research does not display audience-specific or organisation-specific features that would justify the development of a new stratification. Ultimately, the strength of quantitative corpus linguistics lies in the ability of the harnessed data to respond to the preliminary research questions of this study: How are immigrants/immigration represented in the South African news media? What persistent frames define this coverage and how are these frames likely to reinforce specific public perceptions of immigrants and the overall immigration process? What is the role of the media in framing immigration narratives and debates? Extensive global research confirms the importance of media frames and positioning in influencing public opinion and eventually government policy. This quantitative analysis attempts to answer these questions using the tools of collocation and concordance of the RASIM texts in the South African media content corpus.
  16. 16. Data analysis 16 7 Data analysis For a large volume of data such as the one prepared for this study, multiple waves of data analysis are necessary. In keeping with standard quantitative research practice, the first wave of data analysis was undertaken using the full five-year data content. As previously mentioned, the versatility of both TLAB and Sketch Engine in data input allowed for easy ingesting after the data was appropriately readied for processing. The analytical strengths of both statistical packages emanate from their robust tools for co-occurrence analysis, thematic analysis, and comparative analysis. The co-occurrence tools allow measuring, exploring and mapping of various types of relationships between key-terms either in pairs or in groups, either within the entire corpus or within media content or other data corpus. The thematic analysis tools help find patterns of key-words within context units, while the comparative analysis tools analyze and map similarities and differences between disparate data subsets. In the five-year period under review, the year 2015 produced the highest number of phrases and keywords relating to immigration (See Table 2 below). The year accounted for 44.3% of all RASIM phrases or keywords analysed in this paper. The keyword mentions reflected the high media interest in migration related issues, as reflected in the coverage. The interest, in turn, emanated from renewed attacks on immigrants in several parts of South Africa – KwaZulu Natal, Western Cape, and Gauteng provinces – which spurred a sharp rise in media coverage compared to previous years. The key phrase or keyword was “foreign”, accounting for 28.66% of the total keyword mentions. The phrase “foreign” included references to “foreigners”, “foreign nationals”, “foreign traders”, “foreign workers”, and “foreign-owned businesses”. The high incidence of media mentions of the above keywords points to general South African media interest in issues relating to immigrants. Table 2: South African media use of phrases/keywords relating to immigration, 2011 – 2015 Phrase/keyword 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 Total % refugee(s) 276 408 368 477 906 2,435 21.02 asylum 268 313 133 207 276 1,197 10.33 asylum-seekers(s) 225 205 113 141 231 915 7.90 immigration 412 127 101 206 467 1,313 11.33 migrant(s) 77 267 195 223 481 1,243 10.73 illegal(s) 193 129 148 225 467 1,162 10.03 foreign 171 271 168 403 2,307 3,320 28.66 Total 1,622 1,720 1,226 1,882 5,135 11,585 % 14.00 14.85 10.58 16.25 44.32
  17. 17. Data analysis 17 7.1 Data analysis, key terms and collocates As corpus linguists rightly acknowledge, each study needs to take cognisance of the contextual issues relating to the research subject. In our case, we were interested in both replicating extant studies of media representations of immigrants, and in expanding the understanding of these representations through the use of unique linguistic phrases or devices that then contribute to reinforcing specific perceptions of immigrants and immigration. In this regard, we first analyzed the standard words and phrases from global literature, and later supplemented this with South African-specific phrases drawn from a cursory inspection of the South African media texts. These additional phrases do not necessarily constitute the full offering of South African-specific terminology, but must be treated as useful contextual caveats in generating a broad argument of representations of immigrants in the South African print media. The RASIM technique – the foundation of collocation analysis – assists in understanding how media texts construct a particular conception of both immigration and immigrants. As Blinder and Allen (2015:18) postulate, the prominence of modifiers or collocates provides the “first and perhaps most striking sign that portrayals of immigration inform the mental images of immigration held by members of the public.” They further argue that while it is difficult to demonstrate causality between media consumption and public consumption, corpus linguistic analysis provides evidence that points to the “plausibility” of such a relationship. Table 3: Key immigration terms in the South African print media Lemma (Phrase) Frequency of collocation Normalized rate (per million) refugee 3,020 2,702.73 foreigner 1,982 1,899.79 migrant 1,379 971.98 immigrant 1,114 1,069.95 xenophobia 1,575 1,524.25 immigration 782 749.15 asylum 978 939.33 asylum-seeker 1,464 1,406.11 deport 300 288.13 The emergence of “foreigner” in the language of the news media is a first point of contextualization of the South African media representation of immigrants. Even without interrogating the aetiology of the “foreigner” phrase in media discourse, its emergence (by frequency) ahead of immigrant suggests a contextual preference and, more importantly, justifies its inclusion in the RASIM terms. Accordingly, this study adjusts the RASIM terms to RASFIM – REFUGEE, ASYLUM-SEEKER, FOREIGNER, IMMIGRANT, MIGRANT – to more appropriately address the specific nuances of representations of immigrants in the South African media. Also important is the confirmation that the database offers robust opportunity to research the traditional RASIM terms, as shown by their availability.
  18. 18. Data analysis 18 7.2 Use of Refugee in the South African print media language For a lemma that has been the subject of extensive research around the world, the South African media corpus provides an almost unique perspective into the perceptions of “refugees” in the news media and, by extension, the public. Its use in the media is broken down between modifiers of refugees (392 times), verbs with refugees as subject (1,329 times), and verbs with refugee as object (412 times). Table 4: Collocates of Refugees in selected South African media, 2011 – 2015 Modifiers of “refugee” Nouns and Verbs modified by “refugee” Verbs with “refugee” as object Collocate Freq Score Collocate Freq Score Collocate Freq Score Angolan 21 10.54 status 236 12.1 assist 15 9.93 Syrian 11 9.75 office 207 11.5 help 17 9.82 Seeker 10 9.48 camp 115 11.14 protect 15 9.69 Political 15 9.34 centre 139 10.86 generate 8 9.14 Economic 18 9.32 day 27 9.08 recognise 7 8.93 Congolese 10 9.32 act 25 8.84 remain 7 8.82 Somali 12 9.24 board 19 8.71 entitle 6 8.79 Zimbabwean 12 9.13 officer 18 8.41 include 13 8.7 Many 20 8.98 affair 15 8.3 be 87 8.51 Migrant 7 8.96 permit 18 8.19 prevent 6 8.45 Malian 6 8.95 people 19 8.09 evict 4 8.24 Ethiopian 6 8.7 organisation 14 8.03 document 4 8.08 Genuine 5 8.62 child 13 8.02 produce 4 7.99 African 17 8.57 right 13 7.94 send 4 7.79 Gay 5 8.57 crisis 10 7.84 say 28 7.75 Woman 5 8.56 service 12 7.78 give 6 7.59 DRC 4 8.3 group 12 7.75 face 4 7.5 Most 5 8.2 agency 10 7.68 receive 4 7.45 Other 12 7.88 communities 7 7.42 see 4 7.2 Black 4 7.67 system 10 7.41 tell 4 7.17 Young 4 7.6 convention 7 7.38 have 7 6.2 Legal 4 7.45 services 7 7.33 document 8 7.31 affairs 9 7.29 Frequency: No. of times that the collocate has appeared in the corpus. Score: the strength of the collocation.
  19. 19. Data analysis 19 News frames around the refugee phrase appear to go against most anecdotal data that people leaving their countries for whatever reasons to come to South Africa were unwelcome. Aside from being identified by the source country – “Angolan”, “Syrian”, “Congolese”, “Somali”, “Zimbabwean” or “Malian”, a refugee’s image in the news media is fairly warm and detail oriented. The “status” of the papers, visits to the refugee “offices” and “centres” to process “permits” appear to be the key verbs and nouns illustrating the media frames. The frames also distinguish between “political” and “economic” refugees, even though the mechanisms for such determinism are not offered. It would appear that refugees, especially those who are “genuine”, are “assisted”, “helped” and “protected”. The media therefore constructs the refugee as a helpless person in need of assistance, while also serving as a reminder of the unwelcome intruder. These frames are fairly consistent with those reported in studies of media representations of refugees in Europe and North America. For instance, Blinder and Allen (2015) report that no single consistent collocate stood out as a modifier in their study of British publications over the period 2010 – 2012. Their findings also include an over-representation of mentions of countries of origin, as is the case with the South African media corpus. Indeed, the mild collocate – displaced, homeless, fleeing, genuine and war – resonate well with such South African collocates as “genuine”, “political”, “gay”, “assist”, “help” and “protect”. In addition to the muted discursive devices, the South African media coverage generally appears to focus on systems, processes and procedures that define a refugee’s day, namely, centres, documents, routines, hope and success. The frames also distinguish between “political” and “economic” refugees, even though the mechanisms for such determinism are not offered. It would appear that refugees, especially those who are “genuine”, are “assisted”, “helped” and “protected”. The media therefore constructs the refugee as a helpless person in need of assistance, while also serving as a reminder of the unwelcome intruder. These frames are fairly consistent with those reported in studies of media representations of refugees in Europe and North America.
  20. 20. Data analysis 20 7.3 Use of Immigrant in the South African print media language The South African media content corpus provides critical insights into the use of “immigrant” in news language. The bulk of use relates to modifiers of immigrant (632 times), verbs with immigrant as subject (381 times), and verbs with immigrant as object (316 times). Table 5: Collocates of Immigrants in selected South African news media, 2011 – 2015 Modifiers of “immigrant” Verbs with “immigrant” as object Verbs with “immigrant” as subject? Collocate Freq Score Collocate Freq Score Collocate Freq Score illegal 289 12.62 arrest 28 10.35 live 12 9.06 undocumented 50 10.44 deport 13 10.02 opt 5 8.7 skilled 32 10.34 target 13 9.72 enter 6 8.67 African 36 9.44 employ 7 8.95 want 7 8.59 Zimbabwean 19 9.37 suspect 5 8.9 compete 4 8.38 suspected 10 8.92 detain 6 8.86 take 8 8.22 many 21 8.81 document 5 8.73 have 59 8.2 would-be 8 8.64 believe 4 8.25 agree 4 8.19 legal 11 8.51 chase 3 8.19 be 126 7.99 Mozambican 5 7.89 mention 3 8.18 leave 4 7.94 most 5 7.68 be 68 8.16 face 4 7.92 Asian 4 7.64 allow 5 8.09 flee 4 7.92 Malawian 4 7.59 protect 4 8.03 occupy 3 7.9 Chinese 4 7.53 attack 3 7.78 use 4 7.86 permit-holding 3 7.27 stop 3 7.77 file 3 7.86 poor 4 7.26 include 6 7.72 black 4 7.21 prevent 3 7.72 outstanding 3 7.2 involve 3 7.67 Frequency: No. of times that the collocate has appeared in the corpus. Score: the strength of the collocation.
  21. 21. Data analysis 21 7.3.1 Illegality frames The idea of the immigrant as “illegal” has been constructed over the course of the years due to laws, policies, a prison industry that benefits from detentions, and a media discourse that makes a simplistic distinction between “good” immigrants and “bad” immigrants. For instance, the story of Zimbabwean immigrants arriving in South Africa through “the back door,” to use Horsti’s (2008) terminology, is a recurring news theme from the mid-1990s when South Africa started receiving huge numbers of Zimbabwean immigrants. The migrants are characterized as “illegal immigrants” and therefore “bad immigrants” who circumvent the legal immigration procedures, so to speak. The collocation linguistic analysis shows that “illegal” was the most frequent left collocate – modifier – of immigration in the South African news content. This finding concurs with studies elsewhere (Blinder and Allen 2015; Lakoff and Ferguson 2006) that the framing of immigrants as illegal is persistent in the news media. According to Lakoff and Ferguson (2006), the term “illegal” is used as a modifier in “illegal immigrants” and defines the immigrants as criminals, as if they are characteristically bad people. Hence, the collocate of “illegal” not only stresses criminality, but stresses “otherness”. It is unsurprising to see “undocumented”, a somewhat contextual term for the South African media, emerging as a significant modifier. The dominant collocative frame is that the South African media portrays immigrants as either illegal or undocumented, both phrases that have been linked to negative public perceptions of immigrants and the overall immigration process. Other negative language surrounding immigrants includes “suspected”, “African”, and “Zimbabwean”. A welcome positive collocation is “skilled”, pointing to a perception that news content considered South Africa’s contextual issue of skills shortage and the identification of immigration as a policy response to alleviating this serious challenge. The verbs associated with immigrant as an object further reinforce the perceptions of illegality and, to a significant extent, their undesirability. Media texts significantly linked immigrants with being “arrested’’, “deported”, or generally “targeted”. Other significant verbs in the news coverage include “suspect”, “detain” and to “document”. “Employ” was also noted, but appears to mostly link to what researchers refer to as “negation attribution”, namely, use of a phrase to express disagreement. It is noteworthy that neither the modifiers nor verbs appear to capture a positive perception of immigrants and immigration in general, for instance, “welcome”, “settle”, “stay”, or “work”. We will return to these observations later. The dominant collocative frame is that the South African media portrays immigrants as either illegal or undocumented, both phrases that have been linked to negative public perceptions of immigrants and the overall immigration process.
  22. 22. Data analysis 22 7.4 Use of Asylum-Seeker in the South African print media language The asylum-seeker discourses provide the point of departure from extant literature from Europe and North America. Asylum-seekers, and other associated lemmas in the corpus, provide a radically different perspective of media representations. The collocates consist of modifiers of asylum-seekers (529 times), verbs with asylum-seekers as subject (762 times), and verbs with asylum-seekers as object (220 times). Table 6: Collocates of Asylum-seekers in selected South African news media, 2011 – 2015 Modifiers of “asylum-seeker” Nouns and Verbs modified by “asylum-seeker” Verbs with “asylum-seeker” as object Collocate Freq Score Collocate Freq Score Collocate Freq Score asylum 421 13.44 seeker 420 13.44 seek 43 11.87 political 7 9.2 application 73 10.82 grant 17 10.79 genuine 4 7.95 status 37 9.86 claim 13 10.64 new 9 7.76 permit 56 9.85 refuse 8 10.46 work 5 7.73 paper 25 9.85 bar 3 9.58 job 4 7.7 refugee 10 9.48 detain 5 9.58 many 7 7.35 claim 14 9.23 deny 5 9.18 most 3 7.2 population 6 9.17 reject 3 9.04 Somali 3 7.01 system 19 8.9 assist 3 8.95 refugee 6 6.74 process 14 8.53 obtain 3 8.49 allow 3 7.97 give 8 7.52 Frequency: No. of times that the collocate has appeared in the corpus. Score: the strength of the collocation. At first glance, the collocates of asylum-seekers in the South African media content give a false sense of support, or even a warm reception. However, lurking behind these lemmas is deep-seated bitterness and frustration with a broken asylum system that is exploited by desperate immigrants and corrupt South African government officials. Our data shows that illegality and the failure of asylum claims are pivotal points for the media in South Africa. Blinder and Allen (2015: 21 – 23) find asylum-seekers as “illegal” and “failed”, a discursive device that they associate with illegality. They further find that this labelling is tantamount to equating the asylum immigration status with criminals and “implying a need for punitive measures”. While there are no explicit references to these UK devices, adequate cognate themes are advanced, which altogether provide a persuasive case for media representations of asylum-seekers.
  23. 23. Data analysis 23 The South African media collocates offer a consistent negation stance to the country’s policy on asylum- seeking. Even premised upon seemingly positive thematic devices – “genuine”, “political”, “permits”, “seek” and “grant”, the media discourses represent sharp counter-messages and systematically provide a formidable picture of failure, consistent with the “failed” policy verdict finding by European and North American researchers. The collocates challenge the idea of asylum-seeking, depicting it as a weak policy avenue exploited by unqualified individuals. The media frames further question new government policy that introduced a tight deadline within which all prospective asylum-seekers must report to the Department of Home Affairs and apply for political asylum. Examining concordances reveals evidence of deep-seated rejection of asylum-seeking and the individuals who benefited: “South Africa remains a popular destination for political asylum-seekers and refugees. According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, in 2010, more asylum applications were lodged in South Africa than in any other country.” Business Day (South Africa), September 20, 2012, p. 5. “We’ve been flooded with many asylum applications especially in Durban … New arrivals, new applicants, are queueing at the office from Monday in order to be attended to on Tuesday.” The New Age (South Africa), May 20, 2015, p. 3. “When police raided the house they found fraudulent asylum papers and a machine to produce them.” Pretoria News (South Africa), December 20, 2013, p. 4. “More than 95 percent of those applying for asylum were not genuine refugees. The ANC’s policy document says asylum-seekers are ‘looking for work or business opportunities’ and ‘robust steps’ must be taken to ‘refuse asylum to asylum-seekers who have transited through one or more safe countries’. ” Cape Times (South Africa), July 09, 2012, p. 4. 7.5 Use of Foreigner in the South African print media language As stated earlier, extant studies have focused on the RASIM phrases and much less on the foreigner concept that this study finds prominent in the South African media discourse. Interestingly, collocation analysis points to foreigner as a statistically significant lemma or key phrase in making meaning of South African media representations of immigrants. The representations appear to be in two forms: policy- driven and social-perceptions. The policy-driven perceptions of foreigners are encapsulated in the modifier “skilled”. The news frames associated with skilled foreigners tap into a well-publicized government position that it needs to allow in skilled immigrants to fill a critical skills gap in the economy.
  24. 24. Data analysis 24 Table 7: Collocates of Foreigner in selected South African news media, 2011 – 2015 Modifiers of “foreigner” Verbs with “foreigner” as object Verbs with “foreigner” as subject Modifer Freq Score Verb Freq Score Verb Freq Score skilled 28 10.84 displace 49 10.82 own 23 9.59 illegal 55 10.58 target 36 10.35 live 26 9.44 undocumented 15 9.83 attack 15 9.18 run 20 9.32 African 21 8.95 arrest 19 9.15 come 27 9.28 targeted 5 8.93 detain 14 9.13 be 306 9.23 fearful 4 8.65 accuse 14 9.12 have 104 8.91 destitute 4 8.61 allow 16 9.04 flee 15 8.9 blame 12 8.91 do 24 8.76 help 13 8.87 take 16 8.58 hire 11 8.87 work 12 8.53 deport 11 8.81 want 12 8.5 recruit 10 8.78 seek 11 8.44 say 57 8.68 enter 9 8.24 protect 11 8.65 remain 8 7.95 employ 10 8.57 leave 7 7.81 involve 10 8.54 commit 6 7.74 kill 9 8.33 occupy 5 7.5 chase 7 8.29 help 5 7.44 Frequency: No. of times that the collocate has appeared in the corpus. Score: the strength of the collocation. But it is the other social perceptions, ensconced in vitriolic verbs and modifiers that illustrate the contextual significance and explanatory power of “foreigners” and its associated lemmas. The lemma is strongly collocated with “illegal”, undocumented”, “African” foreigners. As with immigration and other labels employed in news content, the verbs collocated with foreigner as an object point to adverse sentiment and public perceptions; they include “target”, “attack”, “arrest”, “detain”, “blame” and even “deport”. The verbs collocated with foreigner as a subject are poignant and, among other things, point to “owning” and “running’’ businesses, a thorny issue between immigrants and many local communities in South Africa. Once again, it is worth noting that numerous modifiers and verbs associated with “foreigner” also appear strongly correlated with those of “immigrant”. These include “illegal”, “undocumented”, “target”, “arrest” and “detain”. Clearly, the South African news media discursively associates both the “immigrant” and the “foreigner” with illegality and offer a call to action on these individuals. As labels, it would appear “foreigner” and “immigrant” received significantly common usage in media content to warrant a conclusion that some news organizations were using the phrase interchangeably with immigrants. This finding concurs with extant findings that news media sometimes inadvertently substitute phrases or misread particular
  25. 25. Data analysis 25 situations to relate to one group more than another (see for example Wodak 2006 and Blinder and Allen 2015). Aside from any real or plausible grammatical or linguistic explanations, the South African media corpus offers strong justification for immigration researchers to consider the implications of contextual lemmas for their work. 7.6 Use of Shop/Trade in the South African print media language In broadening this study’s focus on contextual linguistic aspects, we review small business ownership as one of the most contested issues in the protracted immigration and asylum debates. The lemmas adopted as proxies for small business – “shop” and “trade” – generated significantly high frequencies and net scores, justifying the decision to interrogate this additional perspective even though initial motivation was purely based on anecdotal evidence. The database yielded 612 significant collocates of shop/trade, 314 verbs and nouns modified by shop/trade and 593 times where verbs were used with shop/trade as object. Table 8: Collocates of Shop/Trade in selected South African news media, 2011 – 2015 Modifiers of “shop/trade” Nouns and Verbs modified by “shop/trade” Verbs with “shop/trade” as object Collocate Freq Score Collocate Freq Score Collocate Freq Score spaza 164 12.79 owner 172 12.74 ply 6 12.45 tuck 30 10.74 secrets 16 12.31 foreign-own 93 12.11 foreign-owned 44 10.1 union 24 11.54 own 65 11.51 drug 6 9.91 Cosatu 4 10.32 run 59 11.27 illicit 3 9.91 unionist 3 10.22 loot 46 11.13 Somali-owned 27 9.78 occupation 3 10.09 choose 3 10.97 small 11 8.74 assistant 3 8.68 close 47 10.92 looting 7 8.65 keeper 3 8.67 open 23 9.88 dealer 6 8.48 closure 3 8.55 operate 13 9.38 illegal 10 8.46 attack 12 9.14 coffee 5 8.22 raid 9 8.87 South African 13 7.97 ransack 7 8.62 local 9 7.97 rob 7 8.56 foreign 14 7.96 stock 5 8.16 informal 7 7.96 set 6 8.11 grocery 4 7.88 burn 5 8.07 clothing 4 7.86 rent 5 8.06 many 10 7.83 target 6 8.02 vandalise 4 7.83 destroy 4 7.78 Frequency: No. of times that the collocate has appeared in the corpus. Score: the strength of the collocation.
  26. 26. Data analysis 26 “Spaza”, “tuck” and “foreign-owned” are the most frequent left collocates of shop/trade, with high net scores. The high statistical significance confirms what was observed anecdotally that news media persistently link small scale trading with the national immigration debate. The media references are, not only about ownership, but also about business “secrets” that the foreign “owners” are hesitant to share with local business aspirants. While the media should ideally report events as they actually occur and provide balanced stories, the media provides a particular framing of reality and thus a partial account. Linguistic collocation analysis demonstrates strong negative associations of the foreign-owned shops to “drug-dealing” and “illicit” goods and “illegal” trading status. Remarkably, the media corpus also strongly associates these small businesses with a great deal of seemingly unprovoked violence: “looting”, “raids”, “attacks”, “plying” doors and security gates to “rob”, “ransack” and “vandalize” the foreign-owned shops. The collocates of shop/trade point to a media-constructed perception of informal entrepreneurship that negatively depicts owners as criminals, who nonetheless are hesitant to pass on business survival tips to local entrepreneurs. The disproportionate emphasis on owners’ business “secrets” promotes a negative perception of the immigrant business people, with news discourses appearing to hold a double standard in a country that espouses free enterprise. Equally noteworthy are the strong business destruction discourses that are not paired with collocates that point to rule of law such as arrests, police investigations, and recompense. The high statistical significance confirms what was observed anecdotally that news media persistently link small scale trading with the national immigration debate. The media references are, not only about ownership, but also about business “secrets” that the foreign “owners” are hesitant to share with local business aspirants. While the media should ideally report events as they actually occur and provide balanced stories, the media provides a particular framing of reality and thus a partial account.
  27. 27. Data analysis 27 7.7 Lemmas analysis of the 2011 – 2015 media content data A final analytical procedure involved the development of thematic clusters using TLAB’s factor analysis- based module. The results showed that representations of immigrants in the South African media were divided into five broad clusters (CLs). In quantitative thematic analysis terms, the clustering provided a significantly robust perspective to understanding recurring themes in media texts. The Lemmas (key words identified systemically in media texts) define the clusters in terms of their discursive constructions as significant issues facing the South Africa society. CL 1 tapped heavily into the issue of South Africa as the preferred destination by African immigrants. The linguistic devices feeding this perception included the country’s relatively “high” level of “economic growth”, rising “difficulties” in securing “visas” to “Europe” and other countries “internationally”, and South Africa’s highly porous “borders” with other “southern” African countries that allowed “illegal” immigrants to simply “cross” into South Africa. Other texts highlighted South Africa’s general skills shortage, “unemployment” and rising fears of political “persecution” in neighbouring countries as contributing factors. Nigeria and Zimbabwe were specifically mentioned as major countries of origin for the bulk of immigrants and immigrant issues in the South African media during the period under review. CL 2 represents a broad and variegated response by progressive agencies and institutions to the ominous threat posed by the negative perceptions of immigrants. The cluster highlights the actions of “courts” and legal entities making interventions for “asylum-seekers” including legal redress and litigation. “Judgements’’ and other legal actions against the “National Department of Home Affairs” define this cluster’s unique characteristic as the battleground for aggressive contestations. Media reports reference terse linguistic devices such as “court orders”, “applications”, “cases”, “judgements” and “appeals”. The key actors – “officials”, “judges’’ and ‘’ministers’’ – are placed alongside “refugees’’, “applicants”, “asylum- seekers” and “detainees”. One location of discursive conflict and contestation was the “Lindela Refugee Centre” where “illegal immigrants” netted in police “raids’’ were held indefinitely before “deportation”. The emerging picture is completed by the prominence of hierarchical judicial institutions, namely, the SA High Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal, and the Constitutional Court. In a significant way, the linguistic significance of the entire breadth of South Africa’s judiciary underscores both the high stakes ensconced in the immigration debate (for both locals and foreign nationals), and the extent to which immigration has become one of the most visible defining features of the post-apartheid South African state. CL 3 encapsulated “economic” factors driving migration that focused on work opportunities in the South African “mines” and “commercial “farms”. Media reports specifically cited the “gold” and “platinum” mining sectors, and also the “wine-growing” farms. Media discourses also strongly refer to the “living wage” debate that dominated much of the coverage pertaining labour-intensive sectors. The media representations further reached to family-focused debates about the quality of housing and availability of schooling opportunities. Interestingly, this cluster included media discourses relating to the Marikana issue, probably because numerous conversations reviewed the unions’ outcry against low wages and poor living conditions around the platinum belt.
  28. 28. Data analysis 28 CL 4 encapsulated “violence” factors against immigrants in South Africa. The coverage also revealed media discourses on the police involvement in fighting anti-immigrant violence. Among the factors evident was coverage focusing on “xenophobic” “attacks” and “looting” of “shops” owned by “foreigners”. The attacks even included the “murder” of “Somali” nationals. The police discourses covered the “arrest” of “suspected criminals” of xenophobic attacks. Media reports focused on spokespersons’ comments about police “operations” in the “Isipingo area” of “Durban” where violence had intensified, and “criminals” arrested. “Foreign nationals” were also attacked in “townships” in “Soweto” and “Chatsworth”. Comments by Zulu King Zwelinthini bore strong statistical significance alongside factors that mentioned “mobs” of “residents’’, “marching”, “raiding”, “targeting” “foreign-owned” (shops) and “displaced” them at “night”. Some “violent” “incidents” were in reaction to the “shooting” and “killing” of a local resident by a shopkeeper during an attempted robbery. CL 5 consisted of “Government response” to the xenophobic violence on immigrants by black South Africans. Factors identified in media reports as causes of the violence included the need to review South Africa’s “migration policy” and deal with “problems” inherited from “apartheid”. Numerous factors focused on developing a “social policy” to combat xenophobia, raise “cohesion”, and also promote “political freedom” in African countries. Other reports pointed to “cultural” and “economic development” as vehicles to promote “dignity” among “black South Africans”. Such initiatives could “unite” all people against racism in South Africa and “globally”. A discourse worth noting wasthe “ANC’s” own stance on the issue, as enunciated at its policy and elective conference in “Mangaung”.
  29. 29. Conclusions and implications 29 This empirical study analyzed the linguistic character of South African news content pertaining to immigrants and immigration during the period 2011 – 2015. We have identified significant patterns that are consistent with extant literature on media constructions of immigrants and the migration debate. A critical finding is the strong negative associations of immigrants with “illegality”, “undesirability”, and even “crime”. Media discourses link immigrants with a variety of irregular and criminal behaviour, and in some instances appear to give a call for authorities to take action on the “errant” immigrants. As established in related studies elsewhere, this study supports the thesis of a relationship between media and public attitudes on immigrants. Regardless of the veracity of their information and sources, news media appear to actively construct notions of immigration and immigrants, and in the process shape and define public understanding. Ongoing research on media effects point to significant media culpability in eventually shaping public opinion. This study confirms the existence in South African media of perception patterns that are consistent with those found in the UK and the US, supporting arguments of universal media perspectives on news gathering and reporting. The emergence of new contextual explanatory variables present this study’s unique contribution to scholarship on media and immigrant societies. The finding of “foreigner” as an alternative label in media discourses should encourage researchers to focus on rich local contexts with a view to disabusing social research of the tendency to generalize. The findings relating to “shop” and “trade” references offer further evidence of the complex and at times contradictory nature of public discourses. The strong association of immigrant business people to small- scale trade (spaza shops and tuck shops) does not appear to enjoy media support. To the contrary, media discourses go as far as to suggest that the shops are facades to conceal drug-dealing and other illegal activity. Yet the news reports also allege that immigrant business owners have “secrets” that they need to share with local communities. No reasons are advanced on why the business people should offer their intellectual property, or even why local communities cannot find answers to entrepreneurship questions elsewhere. Clearly, the news media appear to propagate an absurd notion that South African communities could be intrinsically disadvantaged in business compared to their counterparts from the continent. This study establishes the efficacy of quantitative methodologies in delivering solutions that for a long time have been a preserve of qualitative approaches. That quantitative procedures would yield robust findings that previously only emerged from extensive human critical observation or argumentation is testimony of advances made in data automation as well as conceptualizing qualitative research methods. As observed in numerous studies handling “big” data, there is still need for these findings to be complemented with qualitative insights such as discourse and thematic analysis of specific trends and patterns identified in this quantitative excursion. 8 Conclusions and implications
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  31. 31. References 32 About the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa SIHMA’s work is founded on the Scalabrini ethos and inspired by universal values such as respect for human dignity and diversity. Our vision is an Africa where the human rights of people on the move are ensured and their dignity is promoted; our mission is to conduct and disseminate research that contributes to the understanding of human mobility and informs policies that ensure the rights and dignity of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees in Africa. Acknowledgments Co-funding for this study was provided by the BMU Foundation Copyright © 2017 by the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) The copyright in this volume is vested in SIHMA and the authors. It may not be reproduced, modified, distributed or republicated in whole or in part by any means including electronic, photocopy or otherwise, except with the prior written permission of SIHMA.

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