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Deflecting responsibility in employer talk about race discrimination

Tilbury, F. and Colic-Peisker, V. (2006) Deflecting responsibility in employer talk about race discrimination. Discourse & Society, 17 (5). pp. 651-676.

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This article explores a number of discursive devices used by employers when talking about employment market issues for migrants in Australia. Data come from a research project which sought to understand barriers to employment for 'visibly different' refugees and new migrants. Analysis reveals that employers use a number of rhetorical strategies, embedded within broader racist discourses, to deflect attention from their own possible culpability in discriminating against those from migrant and refugee backgrounds. The forms these 'exoneration utterances' take are examined in detail. Employers attribute inequitable employment outcomes to the market, their customers or clients, the community and to the applicants themselves, absolving themselves, and the companies they represent, of responsibility.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Copyright: Copyright © 2006 SAGE Publications
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