Edited by Andreas Musolff
[Benjamins Current Topics 102] 2019
► pp. 5–31
Thinking globally, acting locally
Analyzing the adaptation of mainstream supremacist concepts to a local socio-historical context (ELAM in Cyprus)
The aim of this study is to show how trans-national right-wing linguistic strategies and global xenophobic attitudes are reworked at national levels, and how, as a result, specialized country- and culture-specific coercion and legitimization strategies arise. Using a detailed, quantitative-qualitative method of analysis, we look at the Greek Cypriot extreme-right party ELAM to see how the party’s anti-migration rhetoric construes any foreign presence as threat, by proximizing it linguistically as ‘invasion.’ This strategy allows the conflation of the current ‘Other’ (migrants) with archetypical adversaries, such as Turkey. Indeed, anchoring the migration issue in the main national narrative, i.e., the long-standing Cypriot conflict, gives their xenophobic language conceptual coherence and strengthens its textual cohesion. In particular two figures of speech are the basis of this invasion script, the word metanasteftiko ‘the immigration phenomenon’ conceptualized as the kipriako (the Cyprus problem, i.e., the political division of the island). This parallelism opens the way for a number of inferences, while it also enables a conceptual shift from the real phenomenon known as globalization and multiculturalism to the imagined idea of a (white/Western) genocide. Data include comments responding to ELAM followers’ YouTube videos and mainstream press representations. Methodology includes corpus linguistics and discourse analysis focused on the fundamental metaphors found in the data such as <sc>MIGRATION AS UNBEARABLE WEIGHT</sc> and <sc>MIGRATION AS DIRT</sc>.