My presentation will elaborate on the notion of discursive shifts (Krzyżanowski 2013, 2018a, 2020b) used for well over a decade as one of the central, critical-analytical notions used to explore discourse in relation to wider facets of social change. Building on such classic critical discourse concepts as, in particular, recontextualization (Bernstein 1990, Krzyżanowski 2016) – with its focus on hegemonic ordering of discourse as well as its diffusion across spatial and temporal scales – discursive shifts have been central in connecting analysis at micro-/meso-level of discourse dynamics with the macro-level aspects of global and transnational discursive change (Fairclough 1992). As a concept, discursive shifts have also enabled tracing various social actors’ context-specific responses to wider social, political and economic dynamics, both seen as incremental or gradual change (Krzyżanowski 2018b) and/or as periodic ‘crises’ (Krzyżanowski 2019; Krzyżanowska & Krzyżanowski 2018, Krzyżanowski & Krzyżanowska 2022, Krzyżanowski et al 2023; Moffitt 2016). In order to highlight the viability as well as applicability of discursive shifts and their inherently recontextualization-based logic, the paper will highlight their application to the critical deconstruction of discourses carrying normalization of contemporary illiberal politics of exclusion (Krzyżanowski 2020; Wodak 2015). My special focus will be on, in particular, recent discourses related to bordering and othering in relation to immigrants, asylum-seekers rooted in illiberal critique of multiculturalism. Therein, I will focus on the ways in which the wider perspective of discursive shifts was helpful in tracing differentiated dynamics of public discourses and their diachronic, gradual slide towards politics and regimes of exclusion in such countries as, inter alia, Poland, Sweden or the UK. I will show how deploying discursive shifts has not only allowed exploring the linear or incremental discourse dynamics but also its strongly mediation-based nature (Krzyżanowski, Triandafyllidou & Wodak 2018; Krzyżanowski & Ekström 2022). As will be shown, the former and the latter enabled tracing the spread of the immigration-related moral panics (Cohen 1972; Krzyżanowski 2020b) including via recontextualization of far-right, populist and neoliberal discourses and frames (Phelan 2019; Wodak & Krzyżanowski 2017) as well as via ‘borderline discourses’ of un/in-civility (Krzyżanowski and Ledin 2017; Krzyżanowski et al 2021; Ekström, Krzyżanowski & Johnson 2023) which eventually penetrated the wider public imagination.