Event date:

WA Distinguished Professors’ Lecture: The representations of racism in immigrant students’ essays in Greece: The “hybrid balance” between legitimizing and resistance identities

Time: Thursday 14 March 2024, 15:00

Venue: Sala Hrynakowskiego, Collegium Heliodori Święcicki

Speaker: Prof. Argiris Archakis (University of Patras, Greece)


Racism as a means for accomplishing homogeneity is the focus of this study which draws on Critical Discourse Analysis and analyzes descriptions of racist behaviors included in immigrant students’ school essays.

One important parameter of our analysis pertains to the relation between the macro-level involving the dominant assimilative context in Greece and the micro-level involving the linguistic and narrative choices and positionings of immigrant students. In particular, we investigate how the dominant assimilative and homogenizing discourse operates in Greece and how immigrant students position themselves towards this dominant discourse. To this end, we exploit Bamberg’s (2011) model of three dilemmatic positionings in combination with the concepts of face threat (Brown & Levinson 1987) and mimicry (Bhabha 1994/2004).

Our data consist of 284 essays from 6 primary schools, 4 high schools and 8 lyceums which were written by bilingual immigrant students, mainly of Albanian origin. Our analysis focuses on the ways the immigrant students of our sample construct legitimizing and hybrid resistance identities. We demonstrate that legitimizing identities are found in the vast majority of the essays of our data due to the racist behaviors experienced by immigrant people. On the other hand, explicit descriptions of such behaviors appear only in few essays. We argue that in these few essays, immigrant students manage to build hybrid resistance identities via referring to majority people’s racist behaviors against them.

About the speaker:portrait

Αrgiris Archakis is Professor of Discourse Analysis and Sociolinguistics in the Department of Philology at the University of Patras in Greece, where he has been teaching since 1997. He has carried out research and published extensively on the analysis of various genres, such as migrant students’ essays, youth conversational narratives, parliamentary discourse and media discourse. His publications include articles in (among others) Ethnic and racial Studies, Pragmatics, Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict, Multilingua: Journal of Cross-Cultural and Interlanguage Communication, Journal of Pragmatics, Narrative Inquiry, Discourse and Society, etc. He is co-author with V. Tsakona of the book The Narrative Construction of Identities in Critical Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and co-editor with V. Tsakona of the volume Exploring the Ambivalence of Liquid Racism: In between antiracist and racist discourse (J. Benjamins, 2024). He is the coordinator of the research project TRACE: “Tracing Racism to Anti-Racist Discourse: A critical approach to European public speech on the migrant and refugee crisis” (TRACE/HFRI-FM17-42, HFRI 2019-2022).

About the lecture series:

WA Distinguished Professors’ Lectures Series features internationally renowned scholars visiting the Faculty of English to share their research and professional expertise with the faculty and students.