Discourses of differentiation : ethnic representations in newspaper texts
The study investigates the ways in which difference between ethnic minorities and majority is discursively constructed in press news and editorials. Theoretically, ethnic difference is seen as constructed and newspapers as an influential actor and forum for these constructions. Discourse is considered as an important aspect of difference making and news practices. The data came from Helsingin Sanomat domestic news coverage and editorials on ethnic minorities in 1985-1993. The methods of analysis combined concepts developed in news studies, discourse analysis and systemic-functional linguistics. These were integrated into a critical discourse analytical framework. More specifically, analyses of contents of the newspaper texts, discourses drawn on in them, wording used to denote participants and transitivity features of the texts were carried out. The findings partially supported results by previous studies on ethnic representations in newspaper: ethnic minorities were marginalized in texts about ethnic and immigration issues. Also the linguistic choices made in news texts indicated that difference between the groups was clearly marked. Importantly, the linguistic analysis indicated that besides this dominant representation, the ethnic minority examined, the Sarni, were also represented as a politically active group fighting for their rights. This raises an interesting question of the role of news language in a social phenomenon. Another important issue to be considered is to what extent newspaper representations of ethnic minorities are heterogeneous and changing over time. ...
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- Väitöskirjat