Chapter published in:Language Aggression in Public Debates on Immigration
Edited by Andreas Musolff
[Benjamins Current Topics 102] 2019
► pp. 79–100
"We mustn't fool ourselves"
'Orbánian' discourse in the political battle over the refugee crisis and European identity
The historic wave of refugees reaching Europe in 2015 was met with a volatile mixture of ethno-nationalist, anti-Muslim fearmongering and political infighting within the European Union (EU). Perhaps no one was more influential in promulgating fear and anti-refugee sentiment than Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary, whose inflammatory rhetoric and uncompromising, illiberal political stance helped escalate the refugee-crisis in a discursive battle of political wills, ideologies, and identity politics within the EU. This paper explores how Orbán employs political discourse practices and strategies to enact his right-wing populist (RWP) ideology and anti-immigrant ‘politics of fear’ (Wodak 2015) vis-à-vis EU politicians’ pro-migration discourses. Adopting a broad critical discourse-analytic approach, we demonstrate Orbán’s iterative production of discourses of threat and defense underlying discourses of fear (law and order, cultural/religious difference), and discourses of oppositional political identities and ideologies through fractal recursion. We argue that recursive performance of RWP stances creates a recognizable political style characteristic of Orbán’s RWP political persona or type.
Keywords: discourse of fear, European identity, immigration discourse, Orbán, refugee crisis, right-wing populism
Published online: 24 April 2019