Political and media discourses about integrating refugees in the UK

Simon Goodman, Steve Kirkwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper addresses political and media discourses about integrating refugees in the UK in the context of the ‘refugee crisis’. A discursive psychological approach is presented as the best way to understand what talk about the concept is used to accomplish in these debates. A large corpus of political discussions (13 hours of debate featuring 146 politicians) and 960 newspaper articles from the UK were discourse analysed. The analysis identified five dilemmas about integration: Integration is positive and necessary, but challenging; Host communities are presented as welcoming, but there are limits to their capacity; Refugees are responsible for integration, but host communities need to provide support; Good refugees integrate, bad ones don’t; Refugees are vulnerable and are skilled. All are used to warrant the inclusion or exclusion of refugees. The responsibility of western nations to support refugees is therefore contingent on the refugees behaving in specific ways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1456-1470
JournalEuropean Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number7
Early online date22 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • refugee crisis
  • refugees
  • integration
  • discursive psychology
  • discourse analysis


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