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‘Making waves’: Textual analysis of representations of Islamic extremism in the British tabloid press

Nicklin, Lee (2010) ‘Making waves’: Textual analysis of representations of Islamic extremism in the British tabloid press. Manchester Metropolitan University. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This article presents a textual analysis of the rhetoric portrayed in newspaper articles printed by the British tabloid press in the weeks and months following the September 11th, 2001 attacks on the world trade centre. To further support the findings of Merskin (2004) I utilise Spillman and Spillman's (1997: cited in Merskin, 2004) model of enemy image construction to analyse several articles in order to identify particular discourses that serve the purpose of constructing individuals of Arab descent as the ‘other’. This analysis demonstrates the media’s reflection on an identifiable model of enemy image construction that continues to have important implications for Arab United Kingdom citizens and non-citizens. Furthermore, I argue that the British tabloid press’ construction of the ‘other’ is reinforced through conveying themes associating Western populations with notions of goodness and freedom whilst at the same time situating Eastern Arab individuals as evil. Furthermore, the theme of ‘justification’ for the war in Iraq will be shown to resonate throughout each article. Ultimately, I show that such rhetoric built upon stereotypical words and images is a device used to sway the lay public’s perception that the war in Iraq is morally justified.

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