International Education Journal

WCCES Commission 6 Special Congress Issue


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A media discourse analysis of racism in South African schools

Corene de Wet
Department of Comparative Education, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, Republic of South Africa


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The aim of this paper is to establish, by means of a discourse analysis, how and with what purpose in mind, the printed media, accused of perpetuating racism in South African society, report on racism in education, a social relationship that also seems to be constructed in ways that seem racist. In a micro-context, the following discursive themes have been identified in a study of reports on racial violence in South African schools: Black and white parents, learners and other role players deny that they are racists. The violence in South African schools must therefore be attributed to the racist, violent, inhuman, amoral and unreasonable behaviour of the 'other'. And if the 'self' sometimes acts violently against somebody from a different race (the other), it is justifiable force of fact. Discursive themes on the macro-context of institutions and ideologies allude to the role of politics (apartheid and assimilation).

discourse analysis, racism, education, South Africa



de Wet, C. (2001)  A media discourse analysis of racism in South African schools. International Education Journal, 2 (5), 98-112.

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