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The Conflict for Power in the Iraqi Political Discourse across Mainstream media and Social Media: (De)legitimization, rapport, sociopolitical identities and impoliteness

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posted on 15.08.2016, 10:33 by Al-Tahmazi Thulfiqar Hussein Muhi
Political discourse is the battlefield for the conflict for power and legitimacy between different actors and ideologies. Analyzing how political discourse can be produced and perceived in different genres presents itself as an indispensable academic endeavor in order to understand the dynamics of such discursive conflicts in both their off and online contexts. This thesis investigates the Iraqi political discourses instantiated in three different genres across mainstream and social media. The thesis first develops an analytical approach that derives from Political Discourse Analysis and impoliteness studies to account for how political discourses can be produced, perceived and evaluated in situ. The analytical gap between the macro-analytical discourse approaches (e.g. CDS-informed Political Discourse Analysis), and micro-analytical approaches (e.g. discursive impoliteness studies) is bridged by examining the relational and interactional aspects of meso-level positioning as derived from Bamberg’s (1997) tripartite adaptation of positioning theory. The data analyzed in this thesis consists of three, thematically-comparable sets of interaction taken from contrasting genres (TV interviews, Facebook comment threads, online news readers‟ responses). The analysis of the data demonstrates that the conflicts between oppositional actors and ideologies can be discursively produced through the use of a limited number of “typical content-related argument schemes” or topoi (Reisigl and Wodak 2001:75), many of which seemed to be characteristic of Iraqi political Discourse, in order to (de)legitimize particular interpretations. In this sense, (de)legitimization is conceptualized as a micro argumentative practice rather than as a macro discursive goal as often argued by political discourse analysts. This conceptualization is innovative in bringing (de)legitimization closer to the study of impoliteness, and in so doing making it possible to pinpoint the attitudinal consequences and moral implications of the discursive conflicts in which oppositional ideologies compete for legitimacy. The analysis can also provide a broad contrastive perspective as to how the conflict for power instantiated in the Iraqi political discourses could be produced and perceived across mainstream and social media.



Shaw, Philip

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Department of English

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University of Leicester

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