This article analyses recent media discourses surrounding asylum seekers and refugees in the Australian Press. Two ‘quality’ broadsheets are investigated over a three year period—the Brisbane Courier Mail and the Sydney Morning Herald. The paper argues that refugees and asylum seekers have been routinely constructed not only as a ‘problem’ population but as a ‘deviant’ population in relation to the integrity of the nation state, race and disease. In problematizing this construction the social functions of representations of deviance are considered in relation to the construction of the ‘normality’ of prevailing social orders and the reproduction of hegemony.

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