International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 305

Full Length Research Paper

Vocabularies of denial: A Brazilian case study in discursive psychology

Szilvia Simai* and Rosana Baeninger
Population Studies Center, University of Campinas (Unicamp -Nepo), Rua Albert Einstein, 1300, Cidade Universitária Zeferino Vaz, 13081-970 - Campinas – SP, Brazil.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 16 September 2011
  •  Published: 31 October 2011



This article attempts to analyze contemporary forms of racism and xenophobia in the case of Bolivian immigrants in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil. The study examines the prominent role of denial of racism and xenophobia in contemporary discourse. The article is based on a qualitative empirical study conducted in Sao Paulo with Bolivian immigrants and with Brazilian university students. The research is eager to analyze various forms of denials in the discourse of both sides. While in the discourse of the members of the host society denial of racism and xenophobia appears in forms of disclaimers, counter-attack, mitigation and positive self-presentation, the immigrants tend to deny the existence of racism in order to create a positive self-image, to avoid conflicts and to reduce anxiety and frustration during the acculturative stress. Overall, the found in-group favoritism of the host society and the out-group favoritism of the immigrants result in the maintenance of the status quo.


Key words: Discourse analysis, denial, racism, xenophobia, immigrants, Bolivians, Brazil.