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Diablogging about asylum seekers: Building a counter-hegemonic discourse

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  • Communication
  • Linguistics


New technologies provide new forums for the expression and challenging of racism. This article explores the potential of an interactive blog about asylum-seekers to serve as part of the Habermasian ‘public sphere’, facilitating debate between those with opposing views. We offer evidence that pro-and anti-asylum seeker arguments made in blogs construct a binary between those in favour and those against. Arguments are collectively constructed producing relatively coherent discourses, despite being articulated by different individuals. We then explore the ways in which pro-asylum seeker postings utilize strategies which social scientists have identified as effective in challenging racism. As such, the blog is a site where what has come to be called ‘bystander anti-racism’ is being practised, producing a counter-hegemonic discourse. Our evidence suggests that despite arguments to the contrary, blogs are potentially useful sites for the development of communicative consciousness in relation to race issues, particularly the challenging of racism.

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