Jodie Michelle Lawston and Ruben R. Murillo



The Discursive Figuration of U.S. Supremacy in Narratives Sympathetic to Undocumented Immigrants

This article analyzes four narrative types–a docu-film, a reality TV show, a nonfiction account, and a fictional short story–to illustrate how the immigration debate takes shape in mainstream liberal popular discourse. The authors argue that, despite their sympathetic portrayal of immigrants, liberal texts react to law-and-order discourses and fail to historicize and contextualize immigration beyond asserting that migrants wanting a “better life.” As a result, the United States continues to be framed as inherently “superior” to migrants’ home countries; moreover, there is a failure to contest binary categories of “criminal” and “noncriminal.” The article concludes with a discussion of how we may move past this bifurcated logic to dismantle structures of dominance and privilege.

immigration discourse; immigrant rights movement; prison expansion, prison abolition, narrative analysis

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 36:2 (2009): 38-53


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