Essay about Nationalism, Gender and the War Discourse

Essay about Nationalism, Gender and the War Discourse

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The presence of war has been argued as one of the major contextual factors leading to rapid changes in media discourse. During periods of conflicts, the media are characterised by a heightened emphasis on a clear division between “us” – the goodies and “them” – the baddies (Bugarski 1997). In particular, a “polarising logic of war discourse” (Pankov, Mihelj and Bajt 2011, p. 1044) is deliberately formed by conflating various forms of nationalism and other discourses of identity, such as gender and age (ibid), with the intent to create binaries and contrast different entities involved in the war. In doing so, the media serve to sustain power in political systems, for they promote preferred social relations and values of the ruling political structure (Van Dijk 2006, p.15). The mediated representations of the political crisis in Crimea in 2014 have followed this pattern. In this case study, using critical discourse analysis, I shall examine the language and accompanying video of the article “'What If My son doesn’t Come Back at All': Crimean Mothers Wait for Their Sons Drafted in Ukraine”, which was published on Russia Today News’ website on 26th March 2014. I particularly pay attention to how these textual and visual elements transform people into nationalised and gendered subjects in a pro-Russian nationalist narrative so as to legitimise the ideology that the news serves.
The article was tied to the concern over the situation of Crimean soldiers serving in the Ukrainian army after the Crimea’s legal status referendum held on 16th March 2014. As a result of this referendum and a string of events entailed, Crimea, formerly an autonomous republic within Ukraine, became a part of the Russian Federation, and those soldiers who had no...


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...d nationalism. Journal of Political Ideologies, 3 (1), p.99-118.
Flood, G., C., 2002. Political Myth. New York: Routledge.
Habermas, J., 1989. The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. Cambridge Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
Hall, S., 1988, The Hard Road to Renewal: Thatcherism and the Crisis of the Hard Left. London: Verso.
Pankov, M., Mihelj, S. and Bajt, V., 2011. Nationalism, Gender and the Multivocality of War Discourse in Television News, Media Culture Society, 33 (7), p.1043-1059.
Slier, P., 2014. 'What If My Son doesn’t Come Back at All': Crimean Mothers Wait for Their Sons Drafted in Ukraine. Russia Today. [online] Available at: http://rt.com/news/crimea-mothers-soldiers-ukraine-389/ [Accessed 30th April 2014]
Van Dijk, T. A., 2006, Discourse and manipulation. Discourse & Society, 17(3), p.356–383.

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