Volume 6 (2) 2013


Simon Goodman & Andrew Johnson

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  • This paper addresses the way in which the leader of the far-right British National Party (BNP), Nick Griffin, attempts to present the party as non-racist during hostile media appearances. The process of ‘fascism recalibration’, in which the party attempts to present itself in a more moderate way, which has been used to account for its electoral gain, is discussed. A discursive analytical approach is applied to one television and two radio programmes, all on the BBC, in which Nick Griffin was interviewed. The paper addresses the question: ‘how is the BNP presented in a way that makes it appear reasonable and achieve ‘fascism recalibration’? Analysis identified three strategies employed for this objective. These are: the party is presented as (1) acting as a moderating force, whereby a favourable distinction is made between the BNP and both other extremists and the BNP’s own past; (2) acting in minority groups’ best interests, where BNP policies are presented as being both supported by, and aimed to aid, minority groups; and (3) only opposing minority groups because of their own prejudices, a strategy used to justify Islamaphobia based on the supposed intolerances of Islam. The implications and limitations of these strategies are discussed.

    1. Allen, C. (2010). Islamophobia. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate.
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    3. Atton C. (2006). Far-right media on the internet: Culture, discourse and power. New Media Society 8(4): 573-587.
    4. Augoustinos, M. and D. Every (2007). The language of ‘‘race” and prejudice: A discourse of denial, reason, and liberal-practical politics. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 26: 123-141.
    5. Augoustinos, M., K. Tuffin and D. Every (2005).  New racism, meritocracy and Individualism: Constraining affirmative Action in education. Discourse & Society 16 (3): 315-340.
    6. Billig, M. (1978). Fascists: A Social Psychological View of the National Front. London: Academic Press.
    7. Billig, M. (1988). The notion of ‘prejudice’: Some rhetorical and ideological aspects. Text 8 (1-2): 91-110.
    8. Billig, M. (2001). Humour and hatred: The racist jokes of the Ku Klux Klan. Discourse & Society 12 (3): 267-289.
    9. Copsey, N. (2004). Contemporary British Fascism: The British National Party and the Quest for Legitimacy. Basingstoke: Palgrave.
    10. Copsey, N. (2007). Changing course or changing clothes? Reflections on the ideological evolution of the British National Party 1996-2006. Patterns of Prejudice 41 (1): 61-82.
    11. Edwards, G.O. (2012) A comparative discourse analysis of the construction of ‘in-groups’ in the 2005 and 2010 manifestos of the British National Party. Discourse & Society23 (3): 245-258.
    12. Edwards, D. and A. Fasulo (2006). ‘To Be Honest’: Sequential uses of honesty phrases in talk-in-interaction. Research on Language and Social Interaction 39 (4): 343-376.
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    14. Ford, R. and M. Goodwin (2010). Angry White Men: Individual and contextual predictors of support for the British National Party. Political Studies 58: 1-25.
    15. Goffman, E. (1981). Forms of Talk. Oxford: Blackwell.
    16. Goodman, S. (2008) Justifying the harsh treatment of asylum seekers on the grounds of social cohesion. Annual Review of Critical Psychology 6: 110-124
    17. Halikiopoulou, D. and S. Vasilopoulou (2010). Towards a ‘civic’ narrative: British national identity and the transformation of the British National Party. The Political Quarterly81 (4): 584-592.
    18. Johnson, A. and S. Goodman (2013).  Reversing racism and the elite conspiracy: Strategies used by British national party leader in response to hostile media. Discourse, Context & Media, 2: 156-164 
    19. Potter, J. and M. Wetherell (1987). Discourse and Social Psychology, Beyond Attitudes and Behaviour. London: Sage.
    20. Rhodes, J. (2009). The political breakthrough of the BNP: The case of Burnley. British Politics 4 (1): 22-46.
    21. Rhodes, J. (2011). ‘It’s not just them, it’s whites as well’: Whiteness, class and BNP support. Sociology 45 (1): 102-117.
    22. Richardson, J.E. (2011).  Race and racial difference: The surface and depth of BNP ideology. In N. Copsey and G. Macklin (eds.), British National Party: Contemporary Perspectives. London: Routledge. pp.38-61.
    23. Rooyackers I.N. and M. Verkuyten (2012). Mobilizing support for the extreme right: A discursive analysis of minority leadership. British Journal of Social Psychology 51: 130-148.
    24. Van der Valk, I. (2003) Right-Wing parliamentary discourse on immigration in France. Discourse & Society 14 (3): 309-348.
    25. van Dijk, T.A. (1993) Denying racism: Elite discourse and racism. In J. Solomos and J. Wrench (eds.), Racism and Migration in Western Europe. Oxford: Berg. pp.179-193.
    26. Verkuyten, M. (2011). Justifying discrimination against Muslim immigrants: Out-group ideology and the five-social identity model. British Journal of Social Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8309.2011.02081.x
    27. Wetherell, M. (1998). Positioning and interpretative repertoires: Conversation analysis and post-structuralism in dialogue. Discourse & Society 9 (3): 387-412.
    28. Wetherell, M. and J. Potter (1992). Mapping the Language of Racism. London: Harvest Wheatsheaf.
    29. Wood, C. and W.M.L. Finlay (2008). British National Party representations of Muslims in the month after the London bombings: Homogeneity, threat, and the conspiracy tradition. British Journal of Social Psychology 47: 707-726.
    30. Woodbridge, S. (2010). Christian credentials? The role of religion in British National Party ideology. Journal for the Study of Radicalism 4 (1): 25-54.


Arran Stibbe

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  • This article conducts a detailed analysis of multimodal metaphor in the documentary film The Corporation, with particular focus on the metaphor the corporation is a person. The metaphors that make up the film are analysed within the immediate context of the rhetorical structure of the film, the discursive context of the use of the corporation is a person metaphor by corporations to gain power, and the background context of the corporation is a person as a ubiquitous conceptual metaphor in everyday cognition. The metaphors in the film are then compared with other multimodal metaphors from two protest videos. The article can be thought of as Positive Discourse Analysis, in that the use of metaphors in the film and videos is held up as an example of how multimodal media can be used to resist hegemonic discourses that harm people and the environment. A practical aim of the analysis is to reveal the detailed workings of the metaphors in order to provide resources that can be drawn on in the construction of effective materials for challenging hegemonic constructions of the corporation in the future.

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Brian Rugen

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  • This article analyzes the representation of the shark in two popular Disney animated films. I draw on social semiotics as an analytical framework, focusing on the structural aspects of film while considering how meaning is communicated through representations of the world (representation), interactions with viewers (orientation), and the structuring of texts as a whole (organization). Data include three instances from the films where sharks appear or in which other characters make reference to them: one scene from The Little Mermaid; one scene from Finding Nemo; and an extended sequence, also from Finding Nemo. The analysis uncovers the ways in which structural elements such as camera, lighting, sound and rhythm, within recognizable patterns of micro-narratives, contribute significantly to the discursive construction of shark as monster and shark as addict.

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Neda Karimi & Sepideh Gharaati

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  • This article examines and compares the discursive representation of Iran’s brain drain in the political discourse of Iranian authorities during the time of Mohammad Khatami and Mahmud Ahmadinejad, two Iranian presidents with different political orientations. The aim is to uncover the global political goals of the speakers. Lee’s (1966) model of migration is used to define and outline the factors and groups that are involved in the process of brain drain and van Leeuwen’s (2008) sociosematic framework for the representation of social actors is applied to examine how different actors are represented in different discourses. During the first period reformists ascribed brain drain to political and managerial issues caused by the Islamic principalists. The main actors in their discourse about brain drain were the opposition and the migrants and brain drain was pictured as a product of the pressures and limitations imposed by the Islamic principalists on the university students and the educated class. With this representation reformists seemed to try to win the support of the youth while keeping themselves in a secured zone. In the second period Mahmud Ahmadinejad denied brain drain. The Islamic fundamentalists attributed the phenomenon to the migrants’ lack of religious faith and the government ascribed it to their lack of national attachment. Politicians and authorities as a social actor group were almost absent in the governments’ remarks. Such definition and representation of brain drain by Islamic principalists and fundamentalists seemed to follow the objective of legitimizing government’s actions and policies in front of their supporters.

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Chinwe Roseann Ezeifeka

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  • Metaphor, a pervasive cognitive phenomenon for encoding social meanings and cultural presuppositions has been implicated as a strategic linguistic tool for the media in swaying public perceptions and assuming consensus for the argument they want to project as the ‘truth’. Using insights from critical discourse analysis, conceptual metaphor theory and critical metaphor analysis, this paper appraises the array of conventional metaphors used by a privately-owned Nigerian newspaper, the Guardian, to report the Nigerian Union of Teachers’ strike. Our findings revealed the newspaper’s apparently inadvertent ideological solidarity with the power elite, hidden under the mask of metaphors in its attempt to act out its watchdog role in the teachers’ case. The study puts this ambivalence down to either a deliberate strategic recourse to formulate new as well as exploit pre-existing conceptual frames as repressive apparatus against the NUT demand for a special salary structure or to lack of awareness of the negative effects of these metaphors. The paper calls these metaphors up for scrutiny and reconceptualization in terms of creating awareness to the Nigerian reading public, the political elite, the teachers and the newspaper on the pervasiveness and negative effects of such subtle metaphors in media reporting.

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    Newspaper Articles

    1. Abubakar, M. (2008). Retreat reveals background of teacher’s salary structure. The Guardian, 3 July: 60.
    2. Abubakar, M. and Awoyale, F. (2008). Govt. maintains stance, teachers begin strike today. The Guardian, 30 June: 1.
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    4. Adisa, B. (2008). Teachers are marching on. The Guardian, 2 July: 67
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    6. Akparanta, M., U. Atueyi and E. Anuforo (2008). Schools remain closed as teachers’ strike bites harder. The Guardian, 3 July: 57
    7. Ozioruva, A.O., C. Collins, I. Nejuvie, F. Ugwuoke and I. Ayandare (2008). When teachers insist on their rewards on earth… The Guardian, 18 July: 30-31.
    8. Fagbemi, A. (2008). Governors to wade into teachers’ strike. The Guardian, 23 July: 6
    9. Ijediogor, G., A. Abuh, L. Njoku, D. Oladimeji, T. Omoloye and O. Ojo (2008). Stakeholders groan under the effect of the strike. The Guardian, 26 July: 50-53.
    10. Jimoh, M.A., S. Nwakaudu, O.A. Aliu and R. Salau (2008). Senate panel to meet Yar’Adua on teachers’ strike. The Guardian, 4 July: 1.
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    12. Oguejiofor-Abugu, F. (2008). Who will cry with the teachers. The Guardian, 5 July, 11.
    13. Olayinka, C. (2008). Teachers seek removal of Education Minister, suspend strike. The Guardian, 14 June: 2.
    14. Olayinka, C., W. Shadare and C. Ezeokoli (2008). NUT orders picketing of private schools. The Guardian, 2 July: 1.
    15. Onuorah, M. (2008). VP,  govs, others invite teachers to fresh talks. The Guardian, 18 July: 3.
    16. Onuorah, M., M. Abubakar, T. Dako, A, Fagbemi, T. Omofoye and J. Alabi (2008). Teachers down tools, government rules out talks. NECO shifts exams. The Guardian,12 June: 1.
    17. Onuorah, M., J. Ogbodo, M. Abubakar, M.A. Jimoh, C. Olayinka and A. Abuh (2008). Govt warns NUT against closure of private schools The Guardian, 3 July: 1.
    18. Oyekanmi, R.L. and N. Musa (2008). Lagos, Borno ask teachers to end strike. The Guardian, 30 July: 6.
    19. Popoola, I. (2008). Placating teachers back to class. The Guardian, 22 July: 39.
    20. Teachers strike cripples schools/schools paralysed nationwide (2008). The Guardian, 1 July: 1-2.
    21. Teachers strike stalls release of NABTEB results (2008). The Guardian, 26 July: 1.


Joseph B.A. Afful & Hilary Janks

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  • Citation is used as a measure to rank academics and institutions on the assumption that the more one is cited, the greater the impact of one’s research. For this reason, citations in high impact journals that appear on highly regarded scientific indices are favoured as sites for publishing one’s work. There can be no doubt that citation in the academy is a politicized practice.  In acquiring advanced academic literacy, students have to master the art of positioning themselves in relation to the work of others, so that they develop their own ‘scholarly identity’. Drawing on insights from sociology of knowledge, information science, and critical discourse analysis, in this paper, we examine the reference lists of ten doctoral theses, from three disciplines – Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences, Literature, and Sociology – in a leading South African university.  Four parameters: (1) authorship (2) type of source (3) place of publication and (4) date of publication are used as means of understanding differences in relation to knowledge construction across the different disciplines. The analysis of the reference lists shows that they are a highly politicized discursive site marked by particular values, alliances, allegiances, and dominant forms that are privileged. The findings from this study have important implications for advanced academic literacy, disciplinary discourse studies at doctoral level, and postgraduate supervision.

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