‘Martyrs and Heroines’ vs. ‘Victims and Suicide Attackers’. A Critical Discourse Analysis of YPJ’s and the UK media representations of the YPJ’s ideological agency

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‘Martyrs and Heroines’ vs. ‘Victims and Suicide Attackers’. A Critical Discourse Analysis of YPJ’s and the UK media representations of the YPJ’s ideological agency

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Publication 1-year master student thesis
Title ‘Martyrs and Heroines’ vs. ‘Victims and Suicide Attackers’. A Critical Discourse Analysis of YPJ’s and the UK media representations of the YPJ’s ideological agency
Author Malmgren, Amelie ; Palharini, Michelle Fabiana
Date 2018
English abstract
The present thesis compares media representations of Yekîneyên Parastina Jin (YPJ or the Women’s Protection Units), an all-female Kurdish military organisation, in British media versus the organisation’s own media outlets, with the aim to see how they differ, more specifically in terms of representations of their ideological agency. By utilizing critical discourse analysis (CDA) in combination with postcolonial theory, the media construction of four soldiers’ deaths have been scrutinized in 30 media texts in order to provide a deeper understanding of the hegemonic discourses and sociocultural practices which underpin these constructions. The result shows a discrepancy in terms of representations of YPJ’s ideological agency. On the one hand, YPJ adopts an explicit effort to assert their ideology through a propagandistic discourse that emphasises their values of resistance, freedom, egalitarianism, gender emancipation and democratic confederalism, portraying their fighters as fearless martyrs and heroines that are determined to die for their cause. On the other hand, the UK media represent YPJ’s ideology in generic ways in which hidden ideological ‘us vs. them’ representations are deeply rooted in a broader naturalised Western hegemonic discourse, with portrayals of YPJ’s fallen soldiers mostly characterised by sensationalism and victimisation. One part of such hidden ideological agenda is the way in which YPJ constantly gets included in, and excluded from, ‘us’ (the West), depending on who the enemy is, in addition to mainly receiving media coverage in direct relation to ISIS, a common Western enemy. The result is a representation that endorses YPJ’s fight within a hegemonic Western discourse, neglecting their ideological agency. This has sociocultural implications since such hegemonic discourse misrepresents YPJ’s struggle, constructing their fight mostly as part of a Western counterterrorist strategy, which further legitimises the Western power to construct history based on its own premises and claims of truth.
Publisher Malmö universitet/Kultur och samhälle
Language eng (iso)
Subject YPJ
UK media
media representations
Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA)
Postcolonial studies
hegemonic discourse
sensationalism
victimisation
Kurdish female fighters
Handle http://hdl.handle.net/2043/25785 Permalink to this page
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