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Discursive and Cultural Representation of China in American Mainstream Newspapers: A Critical Perspective

Wang, Huimin (2018) Discursive and Cultural Representation of China in American Mainstream Newspapers: A Critical Perspective. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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The thesis examines the representation of China in American mainstream newspapers in the intersection of media discourse, knowledge and power. It addresses the following research questions: In what ways has China been defined and represented in the American press? How have linguistic tools been employed to construct China in particular ways? How have such representations and discourse concealed racialised ideology of the press and unequal power between cultures and nations? These research questions are answered through an interdisciplinary approach combining critical discourse analysis (CDA) and a postcolonial perspective. The American press coverage of the 2014 “Occupy Central” event in Hong Kong, of the 2015 China’s 70th victory anniversary against Japan’s fascist aggression, and of China-Africa relations between 2013-2016 are selected for the CDA analysis. Deconstructing the dominant media discourse, the thesis additionally provides alternative interpretations through contextualisation and re-establishing historical connectivities between China as a semi-colonised nation and western colonialism and imperialism. It thus allows the subjectivity of the colonised and oppressed, and a space where the “subaltern” could speak for herself rather than being spoken about as a mere object. The study finds that American mainstream media has discursively constructed China in a way that is resonant with the racialised “Yellow Peril” imagery and ideology of the imperialist and colonial times. It argues that the construction of a contemporary “authoritarian” “threatening” China vis-a-vis a “democratic” “civilised” west serves to invoke colonial imaginaries and fantasies, inflict epistemic violence, and reproduce and reinforce the existing power structure between the “Self” and the “Other”. The study represents one of the first attempts to apply postcolonial theory and the CDA method in analysing the western media’s representation of China. As such, it contributes to an emerging critical theoretical reflection, and broader and genuinely open scholarly debates about discourse, domination, representation of the ‘Other’, ideology, and the imperative for epistemological decolonisation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of English (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr Huimin Wang
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2018 14:38
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2018 14:38
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20707

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