Publication details [#59679]

Burroughs, Elaine. 2015. The Discourse of Controlling “Illegal Immigration” in Irish Parliamentary Texts. Journal of Language and Politics 14 (4) : 479–500.
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Article in journal
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John Benjamins
Journal DOI


“Illegal immigration” occurs at a quite small scale in the Irish context, especially when compared to other European countries. Nevertheless, there is a significant level of discussion about “illegal immigration” in the Irish Parliament. Through the conceptual frameworks of Foucauldian thought and Critical Discourse Analysis, this paper undertakes a Topoi Analysis to examine discursive representations from the Irish Parliament (2002–2009). It concentrates upon the most common argumentation forwarded by parliamentarians – the need to control “illegal immigration” in Ireland. This argumentation is expressed through various discourses. Notably, these discourses are juxtaposed with positive representations of the “undocumented Irish” in the U.S. Overall, it is argued that negative control discourses about “illegal immigrants” in Ireland provide a number of functions: (i) the legitimization and continuation of the nation-state rationale of governance, (ii) the provision of a forum for implicit expressions of racism, and (iii) the acceptance of “justified” practices of exclusion of unwanted non-EU migrants.