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Title: The delegitimisation discursive strategies of women's right to drive in Saudi Arabia
Author: Alenazy, Khaled
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 2391
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2018
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This study investigates gender inequality as embodied in the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia. To do so, the study draws on critical discourse studies (CDS), in particular the socio- cognitive approach (Van Dijk, 1998, 2008, 2013). The socio-cognitive approach emphasises the importance of investigating the social, cognitive and discursive dimensions of social problems such as dominance and gender inequality. This study, hence, investigates gender inequality as exemplified in the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia in relation to society, cognition and discourse. The social analysis of this study includes an investigation of how sexism is reproduced through the micro level of society: social practices, including laws and regulations and the macro level of society, social structures such as dominance and groups relations. The cognitive and discursive analyses, on the other hand, mainly concern the matter of women driving. The study carries out a detailed textual analysis of texts written by prominent religious and conservative figures in order to delegitimise women’s right to drive. The aim of this analysis is to identify the impact of sexism on cognition; how women’s driving is understood and interpreted and the impact of sexism on discourse; how women’s driving is represented in text. The latter includes an investigation of the discursive strategies employed in the texts in order to delegitimise women’s right to drive. The social analysis shows that gendered power relations in Saudi Arabia emanated primarily from the historical alliance between the monarch, on the on hand, and tribal leaders and Wahhabi clerics on the other hand. Such historical alliance resulted in the state appropriating tribal (patriarchal) values and Wahhabi perspectives of social reality (male centred interpretations of religious teachings) in the formation of public policies. However, gender relations have been, ii also, constantly influenced by other different factors such economic development, modernisation, activism and politicisation. Regarding the textual analysis, the analysis shows that the texts analysed employed two discursive strategies in order to delegitimise women’s rights to drive. Women’s right to drive was discouraged through, first, the delegitimation of the advocates of women’s right to drive. The texts utilized religious and national identities in order to conceal its sexist facet and hence discredit the advocates of women’s right to drive as the enemy of country and religion. Women’s right to drive was also discouraged through the problematisation of women’s driving. The analysis shows that the texts were controlled by a sexist mental model whereby women driving was interpreted and evaluated in terms of patriarchal norms and values.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: P Philology. Linguistics