Constructing undesirables: A critical discourse analysis of othering of Fulani nomads in the Ghanaian news media

Mark Nartey, Hans J. Ladegaard

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The activities of Fulani nomads in Ghana have gained considerable media attention and engendered continuing public debate. In this paper, we analyze the prejudiced portrayals of the nomads in the Ghanaian news media, and how these contribute to an exclusionist and a discriminatory discourse that puts the nomads at the margins of Ghanaian society. The study employs a critical discourse analysis framework and draws on a dataset of 160 articles, including news stories, editorials and op-ed pieces. The analysis reveals that the nomads are discursively constructed as undesirables through an othering process that centers on three discourses: a discourse of dangerousness/criminalization, a discourse of alienization, and a discourse of stigmatization. This anti-nomad/Fulani rhetoric is evident in the choice of sensational headlines, alarmist news content, organization of arguments, and use of quotations. The paper concludes with a call for more balanced and critical news reporting on the nomads, especially since issues surrounding them border on national cohesion and security.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)184-199
Number of pages16
JournalDiscourse and Communication
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • critical discourse analysis
  • Fulani nomads
  • Ghana
  • media representations
  • minority groups
  • othering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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