chapter  3
19 Pages

“Strangers in Europe”

A Discourse-Historical Approach to the Legitimation of Immigration Control 2015/16
WithRuth Wodak

In 1999, Theo van Leeuwen and the author of this chapter co-authored a paper on 'Legitimising immigration control' in the first issue of the journal Discourse Studies. Not only has this paper been very well received and widely cited, the topic has remained just as relevant or become even more relevant. Indeed, since the summer of 2015, when thousands of refugees tried to enter the European Union countries because of the terrible wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya, and so forth, the topics of immigration and flight have gained more salience: governments, the EU institutions, NGOs, and the media are debating how to cope with the so-called 'refugee problem', 'refugee crisis', or 'immigration problem'. The manifold discursive forms of inclusion and exclusion define who are 'Europeans' and create an 'imagined community' that necessarily excludes 'Others', who are usually represented as 'strangers' even 'enemies'.