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Title: Semantic associations, epistemic priming and cognitive mechanisms in media discourse : a critical analysis of the British press use of the term Muslim women
Author: Otaif, Fahad
ISNI:       0000 0004 7967 7216
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2019
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Although lexical priming is claimed to provide a way 'forward' for textual critical discourse analysis (CDA) to update its paradigm (Hoey, 2004), not many priming CDA studies have yet been undertaken. Recent CDA research has just begun to appreciate the phenomenon but failed to explicate it; Baker (2010) identified the lexical priming of terrorism in the press discourse representing Muslims, however, he called for a cognitive account to untangle the phenomenon of lexical priming in corpus-based CDA. The current CDA research explores how the use of the term Muslim wom(a)en (MW(s)) has developed diachronically in the British press, in an attempt to show how current representations of Muslim women (Al-Hejin, 2012; Baker, et al., 2013) can be understood and explicated through a cognitive-assisted corpus-based CDA that utilises the concept of lexical priming. I argue, here, for greater incorporation of cognitive semantics into corpus-based CDA (Otaif, 2015) in a model (a priming model of CDA) that is expected to capture the ideological orientations (social bias) embodied cumulatively in media discourse. For this purpose, corpora of five British newspapers were constructed with a total size of 2,473,680 tokens/words, representing the range of ideological orientations and the conventional dichotomies in the British press. It was found that the Left-wing (LW) press significantly associates (epistemically primes) Muslim women with negativity by representing them as powerless and agentless patients affected by violent (Islamic) force who need to be 'empowered' and 'emancipated'. On the other hand, the Right-wing (RW) press is more interested in narrowing the image of Muslim women, after 7/7, to controversies over veiling and presenting them as problematic social actors who 'resist' and 'refuse' to adhere to judicial and political calls for 'removal' of face-veils (bans). The most used source domain in the conceptual structures associating Muslim women was that of force-dynamics where a force is used against or for Muslim women which, in turn, reflects a power conflict between the 'liberal' governments and Muslim minorities in Europe.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: critical discourse analysis ; media discourse ; semantic associations ; priming ; cognitive mechanisms ; cognitive linguistics ; corpus linguistics ; Muslim women ; British Press ; newspapers