The Anti-Immigrant "New Mediascape": Analyzing Nativist Discourse on the Web
AuthorCostley, William F.
AdvisorDuran, Javier D.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis project examines nativism as an important historical process in the development of American cultural identity, following an interdisciplinary approach that focuses on the emergence of anti-immigrant discourse on the Internet. My aim is to analyze how anti-immigrant groups, despite access to new technologies, continue to reify stereotypes and representations of Latin American immigrants within a longstanding tradition of nativism. In particular, I explore the impact of strategies employed on the websites of the anti-immigrant groups Border Guardians, Mothers against Illegal Aliens, American Border Patrol, Justice for Shawna Forde, Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, and Minuteman Project to circulate anti-immigrant rhetoric on the World Wide Web. Following the work of cultural scholars Jean Baudrillard and Michel Foucault, as well as new media scholars Andrew Shapiro, Manuel Castells, and Sherry Turkle among others, I argue that nativist groups utilize multiple hyperlinking techniques to "disintermediate" their rhetoric, resulting in a closed ideological environment I call a "hyperverse." The nativist hyperverse effectively isolates itself from competing perspectives on immigration that could challenge its discourse, largely by framing itself as what Castells refers to as a "counter power" movement against hegemonic forces. Furthermore, I build upon the work of Arjun Appadurai to position the hyperverse within a larger anti-immigrant "mediascape" that permeates established media, such as print and television, and which in turn inflects public and political discourse. I maintain that the processes that create the hyperverse also render it immune to rupture from competing perspectives circulating in new or traditional media. Nevertheless, I cite popular movements, as described by Sasha Costanza-Chock, formed through communications technologies that connect and mobilize youth in opposition to hegemonic anti-immigrant ideologies. I conclude by proposing that new media technologies be viewed not merely as a vehicle that automatically privileges truth, but as tools for creating narratives that must be regarded with a critical approach. I conclude with a call to twenty-first century educators to develop new pedagogical methods to teach students to seek and analyze sources of online texts in order to become empowered consumers and producers of information.
Degree ProgramGraduate College