Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 21, 2018

Strategies of othering through discursive practices: Examples from the UK and Poland

Katerina Strani and Anna Szczepaniak-Kozak
From the journal Lodz Papers in Pragmatics


This article discusses findings of a qualitative study on strategies of othering observed in anti-immigrant discourse, by analysing selected examples from the UK and Polish media, together with data collected from interviews with migrants. The purpose is to identify discursive strategies of othering, which aim to categorise, denigrate, oppress and ultimately reject the stigmatised or racialised ‘other’. We do not offer a systematic comparison of the data from the UK and Poland; instead, we are interested in what is common in the discursive practices of these two countries/contexts. In using newspaper together with interview data, we are combining representation and experience in identifying not only strategies of othering, but also how these are perceived by and affect the othered individuals. The paper uses the following data: 40 newspaper articles – 20 from the UK and 20 from Poland, and 19 interviews – 12 from Poland and 7 from the UK. The analysis that follows identifies five shared strategies of othering: a) Stereotyping; b) Whiteness as the norm; c) Racialisation; d) Objectification; e) Wrongly Ascribed Ethnicity. We conclude with the research limitations and outlining possible next stages, such as working with a larger corpus, investigating frequency, or including other media genres.


Adamczak-Krysztofowicz, Sylwia & Anna Szczepaniak-Kozak. 2017. A disturbing view of intercultural communication: Findings of a study into hate speech in Polish. Linguistica Silesiana 38. 285–310.Search in Google Scholar

Alim, H. Samy, John R. Rickford & Arnetha E. Ball. 2016. Raciolinguistics: How Language Shapes Our Ideas About Race. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190625696.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Appiah, Kwame Anthony, Priyamvada Gopal & Nasar Meer. 2018. The Philosophy of Race, The Forum for European Philosophy podcast. Retrieved from: (accessed 10/03/2018).Search in Google Scholar

Ashcroft, Bill. 2001. Language and race. Social Identities 7(3). 311–328.10.1080/13504630120087190Search in Google Scholar

Aspinall, Peter J. 2009. “Mixed race”, “mixed origins” or what? Generic terminology for the multiple racial/ethnic group population. Anthropology Today 25(2). 3–8.10.1111/j.1467-8322.2009.00653.xSearch in Google Scholar

Augoustinos, Martha & Danielle Every. 2007. The language of “race” and prejudice. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 26(2). 123–141.10.1177/0261927X07300075Search in Google Scholar

Baider, Fabienne & Monika Kopytowska. 2017. Conceptualising the Other: Online discourses on the current refugee crisis in Cyprus and in Poland. Lodz Papers in Pragmatics 13(2). 203–234.10.1515/lpp-2017-0011Search in Google Scholar

Baker, Paul, Costas Gabrielatos, Majid KhosraviNik, Michał Krzyzanowski, Tony McEnery & Ruth Wodak. 2008. A useful methodological synergy? Combining critical discourse analysis and corpus linguistics to examine discourses of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK press. Discourse and Society 19(3). 273–306.10.1177/0957926508088962Search in Google Scholar

Bethencourt, Francisco. 2015. Racisms Princeton: Princeton University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Billig, Michael. 1973. Normative communication in a minimal intergroup situation. European Journal of Social Psychology 3(3). 339–343.10.1002/ejsp.2420030312Search in Google Scholar

Blackledge, Adrian. 2006. The racialization of language in British political discourse. Critical Discourse Studies 3(1). 61–79.10.1080/17405900600589325Search in Google Scholar

Blumer, Herbert. 1958. Race Prejudice as a sense of group position. The Pacific Sociological Review 1(1). 3–7.10.2307/1388607Search in Google Scholar

Body-Gendrot, Sophie. 1993. Migration and the racialization of the post-modern city in France. In Malcolm Cross & Michael Keith (eds.), Racism, the City and the State 77–92. London: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Byram, Michael. 1997. Teaching and Assessing Intercultural Communicative Competence Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.Search in Google Scholar

Cahoone, Lawrence E. 2003. From Modernism to Postmodernism: An Anthology 2nd edn. Malden: Blackwell.Search in Google Scholar

Cohen, Yael, Michal Krumer-Nevo & Nir Avieli. 2017. Bread of Shame: Mechanisms of Othering in Soup Kitchens. Social Problems 64(3). 398–413.10.1093/socpro/spx011Search in Google Scholar

Crang, Mike. 1998. Cultural Geography. London: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Cross, Malcolm & Michael Keith. 1993. Racism, the City and the State London: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Fanon, Frantz. 2008. Black Skin, White Masks New York: Grove Press.Search in Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel. 1980. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-77 edited by C. Gordon. Brighton: The Harvester Press.Search in Google Scholar

Fox, Jon E., Laura Morosanu & Eszter Szilassy. 2012. The racialisation of the new European migration to the UK. Sociology 46(4). 680–695.10.1177/0038038511425558Search in Google Scholar

Gagliardone, Iginio, Danit Gal, Thiago Alves & Gabriela Martinez. 2015. Countering Online Hate Speech Paris: UNESCO Publishing.Search in Google Scholar

Garner, Steve. 2010. Racisms: An Introduction London: Sage.10.4135/9781446279106Search in Google Scholar

Grigolo, Michele, Costanza Hermanin & Mathias Moeschel. 2011. Introduction: How does race “count” in fighting discrimination in Europe? Ethnic and Racial Studies 34(10). 1635–1647.10.1080/01419870.2011.559263Search in Google Scholar

Gülerce, Aydan. 2014. Selfing As, With, and Without Othering: Dialogical (im)Possibilities with Dialogical Self Theory”. Culture & Psychology 20(2). 244–255.10.1177/1354067X14526897Search in Google Scholar

Gunaratnam, Yasmin. 2013. Race GPS? No right turn ahead. Media Diversified’s Academic Space. Retrieved from: (accessed 18/03/2016).Search in Google Scholar

Hall, Edward T. 1959. The Silent Language Greenwich, CT: Fawcett.Search in Google Scholar

Hall, Stuart. 1997. The spectacle of the other. In Stuart Hall (ed.), Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices 225–239. London and Thousand Oaks, CA/New Delhi: Sage.Search in Google Scholar

Hawthorne, Camilla & Pina Piccolo. 2016. Anti-racism without race in Italy. Africa is a country Retrieved from: (accessed 18/03/2016).Search in Google Scholar

Kopytowska, Monika & Łukasz Grabowski. 2017. European security under threat: Mediating the crisis and constructing the other. In Karner Christian & Monika Kopytowska (eds.), National Identity and Europe in Times of Crisis: Doing and Undoing Europe 83–112. Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited.10.1108/978-1-78714-513-920171005Search in Google Scholar

Koutonin, Mawuna Remarque. 2015. Why are white people expats when the rest of us are immigrants? The Guardian, 13/05/2013. Retrieved from: (accessed 18/03/2016).Search in Google Scholar

Kramsch, Claire. 1998. Language and Culture Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk, Barbara. 2005. Podstawy językoznawstwa korpusowego. Łódź: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego.Search in Google Scholar

Machery, Edouard & Luc Faucher. 2005. Social construction and the concept of race. Philosophy of Science 72. 1208–1219.10.1086/508966Search in Google Scholar

Memmi, Albert. 2000. Racism Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Search in Google Scholar

McIntosh, Peggy. 1990. White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. Independent School. Retrieved from: (accessed 18/03/2016).Search in Google Scholar

Nowicka, Magdalena. 2018. “I don’t mean to sound racist but … ” Transforming racism in transnational Europe. Ethnic and Racial Studies 41(5). 824–841.10.1080/01419870.2017.1302093Search in Google Scholar

Reisigl, Martin & Ruth Wodak. 2001: Discourse and Discrimination London: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Robyns, Clem. 1994. Translation and Identity. Poetics Today 15(3). 405–428.10.2307/1773316Search in Google Scholar

Sapir, Edward. 1958 1929. Selected Writings of Edward Sapir in Language, Culture, and Personality Edited by D. G. Mandelbaum. Berkeley: University of California Press.Search in Google Scholar

Smedley, Audrey. 1998. “Race” and the construction of human identity. American Anthropologist 100(3). 690–702.10.1525/aa.1998.100.3.690Search in Google Scholar

Smith, Susan. 1993. Residential segregation and the politics of racialization. In Malcolm Cross & Michael Keith (eds.), Racism, the City and the State 128–143. London, Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 2010. Can the subaltern speak? In Rosalind C. Morris (ed.), Can the Subaltern Speak? Reflections on the History of an Idea 21–80. Columbia UP: New York.Search in Google Scholar

Strani, Katerina, Gabriella B. Klein & Emma Hill. 2017. Diversity in a European context: The challenge of creating a shared critical vocabulary. In Juliane House & Tania Kaniklidou (eds.), Europe in Discourse: Identity, Diversity, Borders 170–182. Athens: Hellenic American University.Search in Google Scholar

Szczepaniak-Kozak, Anna & Magdalena Sambor. 2008/2010. Basic Concepts in Intercultural Studies Piła: Wydawnictwo PWSZ im. S. Staszica w Pile.Search in Google Scholar

Tajfel, Henri. 1974. Social identity and intergroup behaviour. Social Science Information 13. 65–93.10.1177/053901847401300204Search in Google Scholar

Tilly, Charles. 1999. Durable Inequality University of California Press.10.1525/9780520924222Search in Google Scholar

van Dijk, Teun. 1987. Communicating Racism Newbury Park: Sage.Search in Google Scholar

van Dijk, Teun. 1992. Discourse and the Denial of Racism. Discourse and Society 3(1). 87–118.10.1177/0957926592003001005Search in Google Scholar

Warmington, Paul. 2009. Taking race out of scare quotes: race‐conscious social analysis in an ostensibly post racial world. Race, Ethnicity and Education 12(3). 281–296.10.1080/13613320903178253Search in Google Scholar

Woods, Keith. 2002. The Language of Race. Retrieved from: (accessed 18/03/2016).Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2018-09-21
Published in Print: 2018-06-26

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston