Extreme prejudice as reasoned discourse in face-to-face Interactions

Shani Burke, Mirko Demasi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


While there is a strong research tradition into analysing prejudiced and racist discourse, the study of explicit, face-to-face allegedly racism is a rarer aspect of discursive research. Previous studies of racist discourse tend not to be of face-to-face interactions with the victim of prejudice. We analyse two publicly available video recordings: the first taken from a mobile phone recording of a Kenyan woman in Finland at the receiving end of racist abuse from a Finnish woman, and the second, a woman recorded on a mobile phone verbally abusing Muslim women on a bus in London. These recordings are reminiscent of other videos of people being recorded using racist language, which subsequently made their way into social media. We perform a discursive psychological analysis to show how speakers use language that can be construed as allegedly racist, while also trying to frame such talk as in some way justifiable, and how threats are managed in this context. The findings suggest that similar strategies used by speakers when trying to disguise talk as ‘not racist’, are also used to justify talk that is explicitly racist. We conclude by making the argument that face-to-face racism should be analysed in-depth and as a phenomenon in its own right, and for understanding potential avenues of combating such talk.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPolitical Communication: Discursive Perspectives
ISBN (Electronic)9783030602222
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jan 2021


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