Legitimizing Immigration Control: A Discourse-Historical Analysis

Discourse Studies 1 (1):83-118 (1999)
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Abstract

Austrian immigration authorities frequently reject the family reunion applications of immigrant workers. They justify their decisions not only on legal grounds but also on the basis of their own often prejudiced judgements of the applicants' ability to `integrate' into Austrian society. A discourse-historical method is combined with systemic-functionally oriented methods of text analysis to study the official letters which notify immigrant workers of the rejection of their family reunion applications. The systemic-functionally oriented methods are used in a detailed analysis of a sample of rejection letters while the discourse-historical method allows this analysis to be intertextually connected to other related genres of discourse and strategies of argumentation, and to the history of post-war immigration in Austria generally.

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