Communication ETDs


Chie Torigoe

Publication Date



The primary purpose of this study was to investigate how systems of racial inequality and dominance produced at macro-institutional level discourses are reproduced and/or challenged in micro-interpersonal everyday discourses regarding immigration/foreign workers in the U.S. and in Japan. To establish a link between the discourses at these two levels, I employed a combination of critical and interpretive theoretical perspectives, and analyzed how racial ideologies were reproduced and/or challenged through participants' use of various interpretative repertoires (i.e., discursive themes and specific rhetorical moves therein) and positioning of self and Others. Interpretative repertoires and discursive positioning of self and Others are major analytical frameworks of discursive psychology that were developed by Wetherell and Potter (1992), and I employed their discursive psychological analysis as the methodology for this study. The present study included 14 pairs of self-identified white Americans in the U.S. and 17 pairs of self-identified Japanese in Japan. I provided each pair with a discussion guide and asked the participants to record their 30-60 min long private conversations regarding immigration/foreign worker issues using the discussion guide that I provided. The analysis of the participants' interpersonal discourses demonstrated the existence and significance of the dialectical relationship between macro and micro level discourses regarding racial ideologies. In addition, the juxtaposition of discourses of countries with different historical and sociopolitical contexts indicated the importance of taking historical and sociopolitical contexts into account to understand the process of reproducing systems of inequalities and dominance. Although similar discursive patterns were recognized, such as erasure of race and positioning of positive-self and negative-Others, the analysis showed that different backgrounds provide unique kinds of interpretative repertoires as resources to maintain and/or challenge dominant racial ideologies. The present results imply that successive studies on racialized discourses about immigration/foreign workers in the U.S. and Japan are necessary. Given the rapidly changing immigration policies and racial dynamics in the U.S. and Japan, it is important to track the reproduction of systemic racism and changes over time.




immigration discourse, racism, U.S., Japan, discursive psychology, positioning, racialized social system

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Collier, Mary Jane

First Committee Member (Chair)

Oetzel, John

Second Committee Member

Rodriguez, Ilia

Third Committee Member

Allen, Ricky Lee