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Title: The language of collapsing power : a cognitive-lingusitic critical discourse analysis of the Arab Spring speeches of Mubarak
Author: Maziad, Mohyi Eldeen
ISNI:       0000 0004 7968 4555
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis problematizes how power was represented, marked, negotiated, then stripped down, in the speeches delivered by the ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, during the Arab Spring Revolution in Egypt. Seven linguistic, paralinguistic, cognitive-linguistic, argumentative, and multimodal features have been investigated and triangulated systematically as markers of power: deixis, presupposition, frames, hidden dialogicality, logical fallacies, stumbles, and backdrops. The thesis is organized into seven chapters, in addition to an introduction and a conclusion. The first chapter lays necessary theoretical foundations and proceduralizes core methodological operationalisations. The second, third, and fourth chapters investigate the first, second, and third speeches of Mubarak, respectively. Within that context, Chapter Two introduces the new pragmatic concept of Classifying WE, which accounts for the 'problematic' behaviour of the political pronoun WE pragmatically, by not considering it a random, contradictory, flat, circular construct, as the 'Wandering WE' (Petersoo 2007) argues, but as a strategic, systematic, complex, hierarchical structure that encodes sets of multiple referents and social actors, ranked at varying levels of power or submission and inclusion or exclusion. Chapter Five introduces the new pragmatic notion of Nested Presuppositions (NestPs), which characterises the discourse of Mubarak, and develops a relevance-theoretic model that explains its manipulative information structures and cognitive processing dynamics. Chapter Six compares the three speeches intertextually, on the afore-mentioned five levels, and contrasts Mubarak's language of power, i.e. his pre-Arab Spring discourse, with his language of collapsing power, i.e. his Arab Spring speeches. Chapter Seven problematizes power as control and traces the mechanisms of text, context, and mind control exercised by Mubarak, in an attempt to develop a typology of his language of collapsing power. This thesis has attempted to add three theoretical and methodological contributions to knowledge: it has established a transdisciplinary, harmonious, and fruitful dialogue among disciplines that have long been considered discordant, i.e. Cognitive Linguistics, Critical Discourse Analysis, and Argumentation (Heart 2011: 174; Nunez-Perucha 2011: 97-100), and has introduced the two new cognitive-pragmatic notions of Classifying WE and Nested Presuppositions, which have so far been applied successfully to two other corpora of presidential speeches, proving that both concepts can be nominated as global analytical tools in Cognitive Linguistics and Critical Discourse Analysis.
Supervisor: Khan, Geoffrey Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Critical Discourse Analysis ; Cognitive Pragmatics ; Arabic Discourse Analysis ; Arab Spring ; Speeches of Mubarak ; language of Politics ; Middle Eastern Studies