Immigration and the Written Press in Spain: What is it Actually Being Portrayed?

By Isabel Alvarez.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

For the last two decades or so Spain has seen how the number of immigrants has grown substantially. It is estimated that close to 25,000 immigrants came to the Canary Islands between January and early September. Because of all this, 59% of Spaniards now believe that immigration is the main problem in Spain, well above unemployment, housing and terrorism. Studies conducted in the past have indicated that Spain showed a more tolerant attitude towards immigrants than other European countries, but is this still the case? Has the present situation changed the general opinion about immigrants in Spain? The press plays a key role in how immigration is perceived and a careful study of the written press will give us an idea of how Spain deals with immigration issues nowadays. During the summer of 2006 the author collected articles from six different Spanish newspapers and studied aspects like vocabulary, syntactic structures, and frequency of themes. The results seem to support the claim that things are changing in Spain. Although it is still true that explicitly racist views do not get much coverage, the discourse is not that moderate either. Immigrants are seldom referred to as foreigners, and labels like sin papeles (paperless), indocumentados (undocumented) or ilegales (illegal) are the preferred ones. Also, terms like avalancha (avalanche) or riada (flood) are frequently used to refer to the flow of immigrants. It is clear that all this does not help create a positive view of immigration.

Keywords: Immigration in Spain, Spanish Written Press

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 5, pp.121-130. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 533.659KB).

Dr. Isabel Alvarez

Associate Professor of Spanish, Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Oshkosh, WI, USA

Dr. Alvarez graduated from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1999 and has been teaching Spanish at the University of Wisconsin Ohskosh since then. She is also the coordinator for Spanish elementary and intermediate courses. Her interests include language acquisition, language contact and syntax. For the past 8 years her research has focused on anglicisms in the Spanish language, mainly in the written press.

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