They Are Us, but Who Are We? Individual Versus Structural Constructions of White Supremacy in the New Zealand Mainstream News Media Following the Christchurch Killings
Moore, Ben Thomas
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On March 15, 2019, 51 people in two mosques in Christchurch, NZ were killed by a white supremacist extremist. This thesis applies content analysis and critical discourse analysis (CDA) to a sample of articles from two New Zealand mainstream news media outlets, which mention white supremacy, from the three months following the Christchurch killings. The goal is to understand the extent to which white supremacy was constructed as a structural issue or an issue with individuals or groups. The research found that it was overwhelmingly the latter. Although there was some attempt to consider the structural nature of white supremacy, discussion of individuals and groups consistently undermined it. In this way, white supremacists were ‘othered’ from the hegemonic norm; leaving the western, Eurocentric culture upon which structural white supremacy is based largely unexamined. This thesis argues that white supremacy is indeed part of the underlying structure of Aotearoa New Zealand, and that the news media’s predominant focus on individual over structural manifestations only perpetuates the power of white supremacy as an invisible hegemonic ideological structure.