A corpus-based analysis of the discursive construction of gender identities via abusive language

Al-Harthi, Tahir and Hardie, Andrew and McEnery, Tony (2015) A corpus-based analysis of the discursive construction of gender identities via abusive language. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis investigates the discursive construction of gender identities through the use of abusive language in YouTube comments sections. The study attempts to answer the following overarching research question: How is abusive language used in the construction of gendered identities by Arabic-speaking posters on YouTube? A corpus of more than 2 million words of YouTube comments is constructed to study discourses involving terms of abuse and abusive swearing targeted at males and females. These discourses are analysed by utilising a combination of tools. Target descriptors and activation/passivation are used to examine the roles constructed for men and for women. Differential usage of abusive language is investigated by looking at the (non)existence of corresponding masculine and feminine terms of abuse, the behaviour of gendered terms of abuse in different domains, and contrastive collocation of masculine/feminine-marked words. The pragmatic functions of abusive language are studied by examining cultural scripts of abusive language against men and women. The main method used in this thesis is a qualitative analysis of concordance lines where the terms of abuse occur. However, frequency analysis is also employed, to produce a wordlist of masculine- and feminine-marked terms of abuse and to compare the frequencies of terms of abuse in my corpus. The results show that men and women are represented as having different identities. Men are mainly constructed as the social actors who have and abuse power (especially in relation to politics and religion). On the other hand, sexual morality is discursively constructed as the most integral component of female gender identity.

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Thesis (PhD)
?? corpus-based discourse analysisdiscursive construction of gender identitiesabusive language ??
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02 Nov 2016 10:54
Last Modified:
28 Mar 2024 01:16