Volume 8 (2) 2017


Keely Kidner

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  • Lexical choices reflect stances of evaluation and position speakers in relation to each other. With highly controversial issues however, speakers’ terms can index polarized positions, leaving little room for those who wish to indicate a more neutral stance. This paper explores how speakers name the controversial Athabasca tar/oil sands during public debates. Two roundtable discussions were recorded in Alberta in 2010, and the panelists completed a short questionnaire about their practices and attitudes regarding the terms tar sands and oil sands. An analysis of naming practices, drawing on stance theory and a critical approach to discourse, shows that these terms can be problematic for speakers. Participants employ various strategies to direct the interpretation of the speaker’s stance and to avoid positioning on either side of the controversy. These findings contribute to stance-taking in highly contested political contexts while also having practical implications for naming practices of the tar/oil sands in Alberta.

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    21. Kidner, K. (2015). Beyond Greenwash: Environmental Discourses of Appropriation and Resistance. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington New Zealand.
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Cinzia Bevitori

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  • The paper provides an interdisciplinary, corpus-assisted critical discourse investigation of ‘in/security’ in a specialized diachronic corpus consisting of a complete set of 228 State of the Union Addresses covering a whole span of time from President Washington’s first address in 1790 to President Obama in 2014. As such it aims at a long-gaze perspective on the construal of ‘in/security’ in one of the most crucial sites of presidential power. Moving from the assumptions that ‘security’ and ‘insecurity’ are mutually co-existent, the analysis of the lemma threat provides a case-study in order to show what type(s) of ‘in/security’ have been represented by U.S. administrations in order to legitimise and justify security practices throughout their history.

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Christoph Schubert

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  • In the field of mass communication, both telecinematic discourse and political rhetoric are social practices that interdiscursively reinforce cultural categorisations. The present paper discusses the ways in which ethnic stereotypes of Mexico are constructed and perpetuated by mainstream entertainment and the campaign rhetoric of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Adopting the perspective of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), the study examines the TV series Breaking Bad and three recent feature films as well as public debates, interviews, and campaign speeches by Trump. Just as the series and films establish violent, unpredictable and morally deficient drug dealers and cartel bosses, Trump’s rhetoric metaphorically frames Mexican immigrants and their government as treacherous criminals and thieves. In order to legitimise enhanced border security, Trump chiefly employs the discursive strategies of misrepresentation, moral evaluation, and mythopoesis. Thus, it becomes obvious that political populism may greatly benefit from biased preconceptions disseminated in popular culture.

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María Martínez Lirola and Katina Zammit

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  • The media frequently portray immigrants who arrive illegally in relation to political agendas, either supporting the dominant government discourse or a humanitarian discourse. African and Arabic immigrants who have arrived by boat in Spain and Australia are represented as being illegal, a threat (both potential and real), in need of assistance (medical and/or refuge), unhealthy, and culturally very different. The inclusion of images of African and Arabic female immigrants, are very limited in the media and include both hegemonic representations but also portrayals of them engaged in work. This article intends to be a contribution to the representation of immigrant women in the media drawing on a sample of texts from the Spanish and Australian press, online editions. Drawing upon critical discourse analysis and social semiotics to closely analyse four texts, we focus on the interpretation of visual representations in the images of these articles. The results show a similarity between the media in both countries to represent arriving female migrants using hegemonic discourses of illegality, unhealthiness and in need of medical assistance, a threat and danger which contributes to maintain the dichotomy of we-they, us-them. A second representation of working female migrants demonstrates a difference between the media in the two countries. The Spanish media present them in low paid, stereotypical and exploitative occupations in comparison to the Australian media where they are presented as inspirational and successful.

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