"DOCUMENTED OR NOT": CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF REPRESENTATION OF NATIONAL IMMIGRATION REFORMS IN ASIAN INDIAN ETHNIC NEWSPAPERS
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This dissertation seeks to understand the representation of national immigration reforms in Asian Indian ethnic newspapers and how the newspapers construct their own community members and other immigrants. The examination of four ethnic newspapers, India Abroad, India Bulletin, India Post and India West identified the presence of three prominent discourse within the published articles. The first, Economic discourse, presented immigration reform as necessary for the economic progress of the United States where the immigrants were explicitly represented in terms of economic value. The second, Humanistic discourse, argued the need for a humane, sympathetic, reform for the immigrants who are vulnerable, helpless and victims of circumstances. The third, the Model Minority discourse, showed how the newspapers constructed the Asian Indian immigrants and the other immigrants in relation to immigration reforms. These discourses interacted with each other to present the imagery of the deserving immigrant. I first summarize the strategies, arguments, and logics used in the news discourses. Based on the analysis, I emphasize the need for a critical approach to ethnic media study, and I argue that for a group that has been historically ambiguously included in the U.S. national imagery, it is necessary to recognize the constitutive function of context and history in their construction of citizenship, nationhood and rights. Next, I argue that ethnic media should not be considered simply as alternate to mainstream, instead ethnic media research should focus on the underlying logics that guide ethnic media discourses. Finally, I argue the need for associating ethnic media studies with that of critical intercultural communication theories as it will help realize how non- white immigrant groups participate in actively constructing and reconstructing meanings that are presented to them through competing ideologies.