Critical Discourse Analysis of the Representations of Foreign Domestic Workers in South China Morning Post During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Shenyan ZHOU

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This study examines the discursive representations of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) in South China Morning Post (SCMP) during the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong. While existing studies relating to domestic workers mostly focused on analyzing interviews or personal narratives of the workers’ own experience, the current study focuses on how they are portrayed in the news reports produced by SCMP, an established English newspaper in Hong Kong. Using broadly critical discourse analysis, corpus analysis and the theoretical framework of Fairclough’s three-dimensional model (1989), this study identified the linguistic features and strategies employed to present FDWs in 92 news articles from January 2020 to April 2022. The findings reveal that the Hong Kong government is often represented in a positive way, while the domestic workers are often described negatively. In these negatively connotated representations, domestic workers are constructed as potential virus carriers and the great arrival number of workers is seen as a threat to Hong Kong. Besides, the deep-rooted ideology that expects domestic workers to be docile and submissive, there is also the long-standing invisibility of ethnic minority in Hong Kong which is believed to be responsible for the inferiority of domestic workers in the pandemic time. This study provides insights to better understand this vulnerable group and calls for more attention to them.
Date of Award23 Dec 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Hong Kong Baptist University
SupervisorWinnie CHOR (Supervisor)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Critical discourse analysis
  • foreign domestic workers
  • news reports
  • Covid-19
  • corpus

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