Terror Discourse in British Media 2005

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Title: Terror Discourse in British Media 2005
Author: Terzic, Ibrahim
Contributor organization: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology
Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Sosiologian laitos
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Sociologiska institutionen
Date: 2008-05-12
Language: eng
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/12517
Thesis level: Master’s thesis
Abstract: The thesis provided an analysis of online media coverage of terrorist bombings in London in 2005. As the consequence of the attacks, the controversy over the link between Islam and Islamist terrorism loomed large in the mass media, effectively creating a number of media discourses. It was argued that media discourses have effects on socio-cultural and discourse practices of the readership. Thus, the discourse practice of media text production was the primary focus of analysis in the thesis. The data for the research was sourced from the online versions of Telegraph and The Guardian. The keywords for the search were Al-Qaeda. Each of the texts was published in the last three weeks of July 2005. The texts selected for the analysis included extensive reference to Islam and war, as the themes of religion and war were followed in the analysis. The research was carried out in the form of critical discourse analysis (CDA), with the focus on the concept of ideology as common sense, the majority-minority relations, the abuse of social power, manipulation, discrimination, inequality and cultural racism. The proponents of CDA state as their aim the uncovering of the connections between the use of language and the exercise of power, or how language works in the socio-cultural and discourse practices. The work of Norman Fairclough provided the main methodological and theoretical tenets for the thesis. In the data analysis, one of the primary aims was in the identification of the ‘ideational’, ‘interpersonal’ and ‘textual’ functions of the text: how the world and events were represented, how social subjects and the relationships between them were constructed and the sequential structure of the texts. The attention was also given to the presence of traces of ideological “common sense” assumptions, the employment of manipulative discourses, the intertextual use of other texts whereby a shared knowledge between the text producer and the text consumer was presupposed in the construction of the intertextual context. The results of the analysis pointed out to a sharp distinction between the texts from The Guardian and those from Telegraph. The Telegraph texts featured discursive strategies whereby the problem of terrorism was constructed chiefly in the domain of religion and the responsibility for the attacks was seemingly allocated to wider Muslim communities. The discursive subjects and the inter-subject relationships were also constructed along the lines of religion. The subject relationships suggested high degrees of demonization of the Other. The ‘war on terrorism’ was generally viewed as preventive against terrorism. The discursive strategies of the Telegraph authors also contained attempts at ideological common sense construction and suggestions of unequal power relations on the ethnic majority-minority level. The texts sourced from The Guardian generally constructed terrorism in the domain of religious extremism, effectively allocating the responsibility for the attacks to the smaller groups of extremists within the Muslim world. The ‘war o terror’ was generally constructed as the motivating factor for the Islamist terrorist groups. The construction of subjects and inter-group relations in the texts tended to be made mainly along the lines of citizenship and did not suggest demonization of the Other or any support for differential treatment of minorities.
Description: Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.
Subject: Critical Discourse Analysis
London bombings 2005
War on Terror

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