A critical discourse analysis of social change in women-related posts on Saudi English-language blogs posted between 2009 and 2012

Al Maghlouth, Shrouq and Koller, Veronika (2017) A critical discourse analysis of social change in women-related posts on Saudi English-language blogs posted between 2009 and 2012. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis examines the discourse on social change in women-related posts on Saudi English-Language blogs written between 2009 and 2012. These posts discuss a number of reformative measures that took place during that period in order to allow for greater women’s empowerment in Saudi Arabia. The thesis consists of nine chapters. Chapter One introduces briefly the thesis while Chapter Two offers a relevant literature review relating to critical discourse analysis, feminism, social change and online/digital discourse. This is conducted with special focus on the socio-cognitive approach as the main framework adopted in the analysis and its emphasis on cognitive context models and their role in the change/ status quo struggle. Chapter Three lays the theoretical foundation upon which this thesis is based as well as the methodology it adopts in data selection, collection and analysis. For data analysis, a sample of forty posts has been collected on five different topics: women in politics, women and the driving ban, women in non-traditional work environments, women and sports, and gender segregation. Using a three-levelled analysis, the posts at hand have been examined from textual, intertextual and socio-cognitive perspectives. The textual level consists of four linguistic parameters: social actor representation, process type analysis, evaluation and metaphor. The intertextual levels target intertextuality and interdiscursivity while the socio-cognitive level ties in all these descriptive findings to offer interpretations and insight into relevant mental representations. In light of this, Chapters Four to Eight examine the posts thematically and based on the five topics identified earlier. Finally, Chapter Nine offers conclusive cumulative evidence and a discussion of the overall findings. The findings show a clash between the use of grammar and lexis, with social actor representation and process types often suggesting different mental representations from those conveyed through evaluation and metaphor. Women are, to a large extent, represented as lacking in agency and power despite the fact that their relatively restrictive status quo is evaluated as negative and change is conceptualised as positively evaluated metaphorical movement and liberation. In fact, this detailed analysis reveals that representing the clash between supporters of change and their opponents appears to be the central focus, even at the expense of women and their representation in discourse.

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17 Nov 2017 13:27
Last Modified:
18 Feb 2024 00:18