Critical language analysis of Palestinian and Israeli online newspapers and news websites during the 2014 Gaza War

Qawariq, Rami and Myers, Greg and Unger, Johann (2016) Critical language analysis of Palestinian and Israeli online newspapers and news websites during the 2014 Gaza War. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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It is widely accepted that the struggle over media representation within the Palestinian-Israeli struggle is no less important than the struggle on the ground (Wolfsfeld, 1997). Although the role of the media in this struggle has been a focal interest for researchers, the vast majority of studies are based on content analyses (see Kempf & Shinar, 2014). They mostly adopt top-down approaches with macro-level tools of analysis which lead to a dichotomous positive ‘Self’ and negative ‘Other’ representation. This study, in contrast, is a qualitative language-based analysis of three Israeli and three Palestinian online newspapers and news websites during the 2014 Gaza war. The study analyses a limited number of news articles from newspapers and news websites that are indicative of the media landscape on each side. The choice of these outlets is intended to present a range of possible views. The study adds to the effort which approaches media discourse to detect fissures and dissonances rather than identifying stabilities and symmetries.To achieve its aims, the study adopts Critical Discourse Analysis as a general framework and adheres to the dialectical-relational approach (Fairclough, 1995a, b, 2000, 2003) as an overarching approach. It takes account of transitivity (Halliday, 1985; Halliday & Matthiessen, 2004), the social actor model (van Leeuwen, 2008) and referential strategies (Reisigl & Wodak, 2009) to conduct its bottom-up analysis.The results of this study reveal that marginal ideologies at both ends of the ideological spectrum in Israel compete with a hegemonic Zionist discourse. The study also shows that Palestinian news websites subtly exploit representations of actions and actors in their struggle for power, representativeness and legitimacy. More interestingly, the study reveals some similarities between hegemonic ideologies on the one hand and marginal ideologies on the other, in both societies. While the former depend on common public knowledge, thus backgrounding much contextual information, the latter mainly function via the extensive contextualization of events.

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Thesis (PhD)
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25 Jan 2017 12:30
Last Modified:
22 Nov 2023 01:00