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Once an Other, always an Other: Contemporary discursive representations of the Asian Other in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Developments in the theorising of representation and the constitutive nature of language have encouraged an increased scholarly interest in the discursive construction of social identities, relations, and realities. This includes a growing body of literature internationally that focuses on the construction of social groups positioned as Others. However, critical research in this area is more limited in the domestic setting. In Aotearoa/New Zealand, the contemporary construction of social identities is embedded within a specific socio-political and historical context, including a particular colonial context. This context is fundamental to the ways in which social relations between the white settler Self and various Other groups have been, and continue to be, constituted. In this thesis, I have explored the discursive representation of Asian identity in dominant institutional discourses in Aotearoa/New Zealand, with a particular focus on the construction of the Asian as Other. Using critical discourse analysis, contemporary newspaper and parliamentary texts were examined to identify content areas, discursive strategies, and lexical choices involved in the representation of the Asian Other by elite institutions in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Through this process, several recurring manifestations of Asian Otherness were recognised, namely those of Asians as threat, Asian as impermanent, Asian as commodity, and Asian as victim. These representations of the Asian Other embody continuities and contradictions. They function to contribute to contemporary understandings and positionings of Asian individuals and collectives, to the ongoing construction of the Self in Aotearoa/New Zealand, and to the broader national narrative.
Type of thesis
Cormack, D. M. (2007). Once an Other, always an Other: Contemporary discursive representations of the Asian Other in Aotearoa/New Zealand (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/2644
The University of Waikato
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