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Narrative, the event, and identity categories in Xinjiang : an analysis of discourse in English language media July 2009

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Item Summary

Title: Narrative, the event, and identity categories in Xinjiang : an analysis of discourse in English language media July 2009
Authors: Barbour, Brandon Rodney
Keywords: Xinjiang
Issue Date: Aug 2011
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2011]
Abstract: This thesis is centered on an analysis of the popular representations of the July 5 riots. Thus, the data set primarily consists of media narratives. A few political sources were used to provide some context in determining the situated-ness of the dominant discourses in China. While numerous media outlets sought to narrate the events surrounding July 5, I focused on five (5) major news sources. These included Al Jazeera, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the China Daily, The +ew York Times, and Xinhua. The China Daily and Xinhua are Chinese media agencies and are for the most part controlled by the Chinese state. Analysis of these sources provided a look at the discourses dominant in China. Al Jazeera, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and The New York Times are international media sources from multiple locales. The use of a geographically dispersed data set allowed me to determine the most dominant discourses used in general and to understand how these discourses changed based on the location of specific reporting institutions. By location, I mean the physical placement of the reporting institution embedded in a particular socio-political atmosphere. For this thesis, I also limited the date range to the first four (4) weeks of reports in order to delimit the scope and focus on the early discursive framing of the July riots.
Based on an initial review of the literature and narratives on the July 5 riots, I devised several general assumptions about the impact of the July 5 riots on identity and discourse. The media sensationalized the incident and created it as an Event that allowed for greater exposure within broad international media outlets. This exposure served as the foundation for the media to construct the Event as 'ethnic' conflict and reproduce group divisions through discursive framing.
Individuals involved in the protest and the riots that followed organized along ethnic lines rather than by other forms of group identity, such as social status. The narratives that sought to define the incidents took up these ethnic identities, reifying the groups, bringing them to the forefront as the central actors and reproducing the ethnically charged sociopolitical atmosphere. The state (Chinese Communist Party, specifically) was also defined as a major player, a group involved in the riot, separate from the ethnic identities of 'Han' and 'Uyghur,' but still critical to the group-making processes. Multiple discursive frames were employed in the representation (see Table 1 below) all of which performed the process of reification.
Description: M.A. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2011.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/101513
Appears in Collections:M.A. - Geography



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