Equality policies in the English press: A study of diversity in a diachronic corpus of newspapers Recent political events, such as the USA Presidential elections, the Brexit referendum in UK and the rise in the popularity of sovereignist, populist and nationalist and nativist movements in Europe have deeply shaken Western democracies and many achievements in terms of equality and solidarity policies, that were assumed to be deep-seated and irreversible, are challenged. New persuasive messages are emerging: political slogans, such as Britain First (and Britain could be easily replaced by Italy, France, Germany and other nations); petitions regarding the urgent need to defend national borders and build new walls; calls for the protection of European cultural and religious heritage from ‘external’ attacks are just a few examples of emerging propositions that might jeopardize the policies of diversity, inclusion and integration introduced in the last few decades in Europe, the USA and in most advanced democracies. Concerns about this trend and the need to defend diversitypolicies have been expressed by several studies (e.g. Kymlicka 2016; Conversi 2014) and are the starting point of the present discussion, based on a research of the diachronic use of the lexical item diversityin journalistic discourse. The basic assumption is that among the persuasive strategies adopted by political and journalistic discourse is the repeated association of selected key items -such as Muslims, immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees(Baker et al. 2013) or Roma(Erjavec 2001) -with other words or contextual frames suggesting either a positive or a negative evaluation. The reiteration of such associations constructs an ‘us and them’ pattern and contributes to the emergence of new attitudes and opinions in the audience. In previous studies of UK newspapers, based both on the SiBol-Port Corpus5and some ad hoc corpora collected by the author (Zanca 2015, 2017, 2018) the lexical item diversity appeared as virtually invariably associated with discourses indicating inclusive, empathic and positive contexts. According to the tradition of researchers such as Van Dijk (1991) this meant that discourses about diversity were largely reproduced by the press as part of a shared set of values in the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ dichotomy. There were, nonetheless, somerelevant, exceptions, particularly when the discourse was related to ethnic or racial issues. This paper extends the research to a new 2018 corpus of newspapers articles including the item diversity. The corpus consists of British, and American newspapers, but also newspapers published in English in Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Nigeria, China and India. The 2018 data will be compared to data collected in previous years and, following the MdCADS methodology suggested in Partington (2010, 2013), the different corpora will be used to conduct quantitative and qualitative investigations aimed at ‘unveiling’ discourse features related to the idea of diversity and “the broader societal and political framework in which such discourse is embedded” (Schäffner 1996: 201), shunting back and forward from numbers and statistical information to qualitative findings and evaluations to identify “the relationship between instance and system, between the typical and the exceptional, between signal and noise” (Partington 2004). A preliminary analysis of the results seems to indicate an overall persisting large prevalence of the traditional positive discourse framework associated with the word diversity, but also that some significant changes are present: for instance in terms of criticism to diversity policies by some newspapers and in terms of the frequency by which the word appears in different areas of the diversity discourse (e.g. gender, social, ethnic or economic diversity).
|Titolo:||Equality policies in the English press: A study of diversity in a diachronic corpus of newspapers|
ZANCA, CESARE (Corresponding)
|Citazione:||Zanca, C. (2019). Equality policies in the English press: A study of diversity in a diachronic corpus of newspapers. In Book of Abstracts - Discourse and Persuasion 3.0: Identities in a Hybrid and Multimodal World (pp.140-142). Teruel : Universidad de Zaragoza.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||4.2 Abstract in Atti di convegno|