The Legitimating Power of Discourse:Constructing the 1973 War under Mubarak

El Menshawi, Mustafa (2020) The Legitimating Power of Discourse:Constructing the 1973 War under Mubarak. Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, 13 (3). pp. 256-275.

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In this article, I examine a corpus of texts that address the 1973 war; these texts cover the period from 1981 to 2011, marking the beginning and end of Hosni Mubarak’s rule. Utilizing Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), I explore how Mubarak’s regime employed the war to legitimize its power and defend its policies by deploying longstanding culturally-embedded ‘macro themes’. These macro themes refer to the war as an overwhelming and undisputed ‘Egyptian victory’ and, more significantly, they portray Mubarak himself as ‘war personified/war personalized’. The analysis of linguistic and extra-linguistic features in al-Ahram newspaper (the mouthpiece of the state), among other media texts on the war, show how the discursive construction was made consistent, coherent and resonant in a managed context that characterized the political and media landscapes. Depending on unique access to those who produced, edited and even censored the texts under analysis, this method unravels a complex set of cultural messages and conventions about the war, and fills a lacuna in the literature by offering insight into the deliberate and well-coordinated process of shaping and reshaping a specific discourse for a specific purpose.

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Journal Article
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Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication
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Deposited On:
11 Jan 2021 14:00
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2022 09:49