Being ‘Afrikaans’: a contested identity

Theunissen, PS
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All Academic, Inc.

Afrikaner Nationalism under the National Party was the vehicle for maintaining Afrikaner identity for most of the 20th century. To achieve this, a set of master symbols was developed. This qualitative pilot study investigates to what extent— if any—these master symbols are currently renegotiated. A discourse analysis was undertaken on discussions around Afrikaner identity, attempting to answer how participants might construct their identities in public. Four key themes were identified: 1) the Afrikaner as a homogenous group, 2) Afrikaans as a requirement, 3) ‘whiteness’ of the Afrikaner, and 4) shared a heritage and history. In particular, Afrikaner homogeneity was strongly disputed as well as ‘whiteness’ as a requirement. This could potentially pave the way for those of colour to identify themselves as Afrikaners. However, it is postulated that the moderate Afrikaner has fallen silent in the presence of a strong out-group presence.

Paper presented at the International Communication Association Annual Conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico. 21-25 May 2015.
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