Narrating Numbers: Quantifying and Adjudicating Refugees in Social Media Discourses
Comptabilité Contrôle de Gestion
Invité : Andrea MENNICKEN (LSE)
HEC Campus - Bat.T - Salle T 004
We investigate how actors in social media discourses draw upon numbers when debating and adjudicating immigration and immigrants in Austria. We undertake a critical discourse analysis and analyse immigration debates on selected, publicly accessible Austrian Facebook profiles and the online user forum of the Austrian newspaper “Der Standard”. We focus on online discussions between 1st August and 30st November 2015, a period during which the ‘refugee crisis’ discourse gathered momentum throughout Europe. We investigate the different ways in which opposing parties draw on, and narrate numbers (e.g. narratives problematizing and devaluing immigration and immigrants versus narratives that seek to highlight the value of immigration and immigrants). In doing so, we are, first, interested in the ways in which appeals to ‘common-sense’, ‘anti-intellectualism’ and the ‘arrogance of ignorance’ in populist discourses (Wodak, 2015) and ‘post-truth’ politics (Davies, 2016) construct facticity by building on the objectivity and ‘scientific’ authority of numbers. Second, we examine how narrations of numbers are disseminated in social media discourses and what factors account for dominant discursive practices. Finally, we discuss the consequences that these discursive practices have for the way in which immigration and immigrants are collectively conceived of in the social media.