European spaces and the Roma: Denaturalizing the naturalized in online reader comments

Theresa Catalano, Grace E. Fielder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


With the entry of several Eastern European nations into the European Union (EU), a ‘third’ space has developed in the discourse for nations perceived as not fully integrated ‘inside’ the EU system. This article investigates the construction of this ‘third space’ in the resultant ‘moral panic’ about undesired immigration from other EU countries and its potential drain on the social services of the United Kingdom and links it to Euroskeptic discourse in British media. The article uses construal operations from cognitive linguistics combined with critical discourse studies as a way of denaturalizing the discourse in online comments that focus on the Bulgarian/Romanian immigration issue which we then connect to anti-Roma discourse. Results reveal a view of the United Kingdom as contaminated by Roma and underscore the need for novel metaphors to be countered before they become entrenched and used as tools for political propaganda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-257
Number of pages18
JournalDiscourse and Communication
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Brexit
  • Roma
  • United Kingdom
  • immigration
  • metaphor/metonymy
  • online comments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language


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