The Criminalisation of Ethnic Groups: An Issue for Media Analysis


  • Marcello Maneri Università di Milano-Bicocca
  • Jessika Ter Wal Utrecht University



criminalisation, racialisation, critical discourse analysis, content analysis, news media


This paper studies the role of the news media in the criminalisation of ethnic groups, and the relations between criminalisation processes and the racialisation of difference. The claim of the paper is that criminalisation is part of a broader process of social construction, which involves, on the part of the news media, the organisation of topics and issues, as well as processes of label­ling and attribution of (individual or group) traits, meanings, causes, and responsibilities. The paper is structured as follows: first, we present an over­view of different theoretical and methodological approaches to the study of news media discourse, in order to identify indicators of the criminalisation of ethnic groups. Second, we discuss the two main techniques for analysis: content analysis and discourse analysis. We conclude with a short description of possibilities and problems in the design of (comparative) research in this field. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs050391


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Author Biographies

Marcello Maneri, Università di Milano-Bicocca

Marcello MANERI is Research Fellow at the University of Milan-Bicocca.

Jessika Ter Wal, Utrecht University

Jessika TER WAL is Post-doctoral Fellow at the European Research Centre on Migration and Ethnic Relations.




How to Cite

Maneri, M., & Ter Wal, J. (2005). The Criminalisation of Ethnic Groups: An Issue for Media Analysis. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6(3).