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Keywords:

  • Discourse analysis;
  • Sudanese refugees;
  • critical social psychology;
  • narrative constructions;
  • prejudice;
  • talkback radio;
  • witnessing device;
  • ideology

This paper examines how speakers deploy narrative devices in talking about Sudanese refugees. Particularly, we show how narrative constructions form an important basis for the advancement of accounts about integration problems into the local polity. We analyse talkback ‘phone-in’ calls to a local Adelaide radio station that provide callers an opportunity to give accounts of events and social phenomena that concern them in their local settings. Analysis shows that speakers regularly deployed narrative constructions, first-hand ‘witnessing’ devices that functioned to legitimate accounts as veridical versions of events, and contrast devices to explicate the moral and behavioural aberrance of Sudanese refugees. The analysis illustrates how these discursive devices function rhetorically in interaction, in ways that differentiate Sudanese refugees as problematic. Through this analysis, we contend that narrative devices precipitate and bolster socio-political policies that have serious, negative consequences for Sudanese refugees.