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The In-group and Out-groups of the British National Party and UK Independence Party: A corpus-based Critical Discourse Analysis


  • Robin M. Engström

Summary, in Swedish

The purpose of this paper is to determine to what degree there are textual and conceptual similarities between the British National Party’s (BNP) and UK Independence Party’s (UKIP) construction of in-groups and out-groups. The focus is on the two discursive strategies nomination (attribution of word form) and predication (attribution of quality).
For the present study I adopt the Discourse-Historical Approach to Critical Discourse Analysis, which offers a broad sociologic understanding of linguistic phenomena through historical contextualization. The data consist of a corpus containing news articles and policy documents from official BNP and UKIP outputs.
The in-group analysis shows that both parties have gained in confidence between the 2005 and 2010 general elections, which is mirrored in their choice of party name as preferred form of self-representation. When claiming uniqueness, both parties mix ideological themes with concrete policies, but UKIP claims ownership of more banal policies. While the BNP and UKIP criticize each other, the main recipients of their criticism are the establishment parties. Both parties feel the need to distance themselves from accusations of racism; the BNP in particular.
The out-group analysis shows that both parties frequently discuss immigration and refer to immigrants using the same word forms, although UKIP’s use is more consistent with internationally agreed definitions. Both parties construct immigration as unstoppable forces, e.g. by using water metaphors. References to country of origin are also frequent; UKIP emphasizes Eastern European immigration while the BNP highlights immigration from the Third World.
Overall, the analysis shows that both parties use language extensively to distinguish between in-groups and out-groups, but that UKIP’s parameters are more fine-tuned.


Publishing year




Document type

Student publication for Master's degree (two years)


  • Languages and Literatures


  • British National Party
  • UKIP
  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Discourse-Historical Approach
  • far-right
  • immigration


  • Carita Paradis