2023-02-15Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/26042
The ‘Arab Clans’ Discourse: Narrating Racialization, Kinship, and Crime in the German Media
Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät
In the last decade’s media discourse, particular Arab immigrant groups received the name ‘Arab clans’ and have been portrayed as criminal kinship networks irrespective of actual involvement in crime. We question how ‘Arab clans’ are categorized, criminalized, and racialized in the German media. To answer this question, we collected clan-related mainstream media articles published between 2010 and 2020. Our first-step quantitative topic modeling of ‘clan’ coverage (n = 23,893) shows that the discourse about ‘Arab clans’ is situated as the most racialized and criminalized vis-à-vis other ‘clan’ discourses and is channeled through three macro topics: law and order, family and kinship, and criminal groupness. Second, to explore the deeper meaning of the discourse about ‘Arab clans’ by juxtaposing corpus linguistics and novel narrative approaches to the discourse-historical approach, we qualitatively analyzed 97 text passages extracted with the keywords in context search (KWIC). Our analysis reveals three prevalent argumentative strategies (Arab clan immigration out of control, Arab clans as enclaves, policing Arab clans) embedded in a media narrative of ethnonational rebirth: a story of Germany’s present-day need (‘moral panic’) to police and repel the threats associated with ‘the Arab clan Other’ in order for a celebratory return to a nostalgically idealized pre-Arab-immigration social/moral order.
The article processing charge was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) – 491192747 and the Open Access Publication Fund of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.