The battle of hearts and minds : an analysis of the Iraq War discourse in politics and newspapers
AuthorHøyer, Andreas Beddari
The most controversial and divisive political issue in Britain in the last decade was the decision to go to war in Iraq. The legitimisation and justification for making this decision was argued through a carefully considered discourse constructed by Prime Minister Tony Blair and his associates. A key role in mediating and manifesting the discourse of Blair was played out by the media. If Blair was to succeed in a legitimisation of war he was in need of an acceptance of the important implications of his discourse. Accordingly, this thesis not only explores the discourse of Blair, but also its relation and acceptance in the discourse of British newspapers. The theoretical approach is two-fold, taking both the perspective of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and metaphor theory. Although theoretically different, both frameworks share a similar aim, namely to uncover the ideological implications of language and discourse. The analysis suggests that Blair’s careful construction of an Iraq discourse was central in framing the newspaper debate before the start of the war. Thus, newspapers largely accepted the important themes in the government discourse. While the events of the war did have implications on how the Iraq discourse was continued, the analyses of the discourse of both government rhetoric and the newspapers a year after the war started, show that many of the familiar characteristics of the discourse of Iraq were maintained.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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