University essay from Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle

Abstract: Xenophobic attacks have been a problem in South Africa for decades. In 2015 multiple attacks took place and the South African army was called to evacuate thousands of people in affected townships. However, many protested this violence, some by invoking a shared African identity as a reason for peace. This form of protest also took place on social media inform of #SayNoToXenophobia. In this study, the social media discourse connected to #SayNoToXenophobia was critically evaluated for potentially furthering peace and/or conflict through the invoking of an African identity. Norman Fairclough’s Critical Discourse Analysis was applied on 79 tweets from April 2015. The findings were then related to concepts of power and discussed from a peace and conflict perspective. Three templets were found in the data, in the third templet the invoking of an African identity was strongest and therefore it was the focal point of this study. The conclusion was that unity between some social groups in Africa was argued for because of a shared history of oppression and an ongoing conflict with another social group the “west”. Through a theoretical discussion, it was argued that while this discourse could potentially further positive interaction between some social groups in Africa it could also reinforce another conflict.

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