A home for all? : exploring discourses that inform the construction of belonging in contemporary South Africa

Master Thesis

2012

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University of Cape Town

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This thesis is concerned with the construction of belonging in contemporary South Africa and how it is reproduced, challenged and negotiated within the social action of language. This is explored by investigating the situated meanings individuals assign to events, places, institutions and people in relation to their experiences of belonging and exclusion. Poststructuralism, phenomenology and social constructionism shape the theoretical framework of this study. Multi-disciplinary discourse analysis and critical discourse analysis are used to explore how the construct- ion of belonging [is] reflected and produced in everyday language. The texts analyzed in this study are the product of five focus group discussions with 23 residents of Cape Town. The texts are read for how individuals’ lived experiences, memories and imaginations inform the process of constructing belonging.
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