In a context of crime: Sudanese and South Sudanese Australians in the media

Karen Farquharson, D Nolan

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review


This chapter examines how Australian newspapers and television news programmes represented Sudanese and South Sudanese peoples in Australia between 2007 and 2012. People from the former Sudan (including the current nations of Sudan and South Sudan), began coming to Australia in large numbers in 2000, most often as refugees through the Australian Humanitarian Programme. Through a longitudinal content analysis of print and television news items over a six- year period (2007–12), this chapter analyses how this group was represented in Australian news media. Our findings highlight an overwhelming preponderance of coverage focused on Sudanese Australians in the context of crime, whether framed as perpetrators or as victims. In considering the significance of this, we contextualize media coverage within what we discuss below as Australia's contemporary racial formation (cf. Omi and Winant 2015), and consider how crime and violence have been positioned as products of a problematic ethnic ‘otherness’ that stands as anathema to a pre- existing, and assumedly ‘white’, ‘way of life’. Such positioning, we ultimately argue, can be understood as an effective mechanism of ‘symbolic containment’ that serves to sustain and extend racial inequality. However, we begin outlining our theoretical approach to ‘race’ and racialization before turning to consider the broader sociopolitical context in which a growth in Australia's Sudanese population occurred, and in which Sudanese Australians became a focus of media attention.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralian Media and the Politics of Belonging
EditorsD Nolan, K Farquharson, T Marjoribanks
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherAnthem Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781783087785
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


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