Representations of Sino-African development cooperation : discourse theoretical approach to American and British broadsheet newspapers
With the growing influence of the People’s Republic of China in Africa, the question arises: how do the advanced industrialised countries with established interests on the continent see the evolving Sino-African economic and foreign aid relations. This thesis aims at revealing the discourses present in American and British broadsheet newspapers on the topic and analysing the relationship between these discourses. The selection of newspapers includes The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory is used as the theory and method for the analysis, accompanied by imported concepts from international relations theory. Through the qualitative analysis of the meanings ascribed to six signs – “Sino-African development cooperation”, “China”, “Africa”, “the West”, “good governance” and “non-interference” – five discourses emerge in the material: three based on international relations theory – liberal internationalist, political realist and world system discourses – and two that I termed economic development and reluctant cooperation discourses. Further analysis reveals struggle and antagonism on levels of signs, discourses and clusters of discourses, while objectivity, the naturalisation of meaning only exists in the case of one sign in the material. The pervasive struggles show that the topic is characterised by being politically contested, with each discourse leading to different appropriate course of action.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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