A Socio-Cognitive Representation of Muslims in the British Quality Newspapers

Sabra Hasan Ghanim [1] & Ahmed Qadoury Abed [2]

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.10290323

[1] Mustansiriyah University, College of Arts, Iraq, email: translators82@gmail.com

[2] Mustansiriyah University, College of Arts, Iraq. Corresponding author, ORCID:0000-0003-4255-5824, email: dr.ahmed_qadouriy@uomustansiriyah.edu.iq


The British newspapers frequently discuss Muslims, typically in regard to religion, even when the topic under discussion is one of social, political, or educational concern. This study examines how Muslims are represented by a socio-cognitive analysis to critically investigate the selected linguistic constructs and their consequences on social representation and the construal operations in the reader’s mind. To that purpose, eight news articles from The Times, The Telegraph, The Guardian, and The Independent covering Muslim-related subjects are selected in order to be analysed using the adapted van Leeuwen’s (2008) and Hart’s (2010) multimodal framework. The qualitative-quantitative analysis explores how Muslims are portrayed socially in the chosen data, cognitively in the specified social practices, what role social and cognitive discursive strategies play in reinforcing or challenging ideology as a socio-cognitive phenomenon, and finally, how the representation varies in the specified newspapers to reflect political leaning and conflicts at the time. The data shows Muslim inclusion and activation rates that are statistically significant. In most cases, backgrounding of Muslims conjures up negative associations. The results demonstrate that the reports contain social and cognitive discursive construction patterns that portray Muslims unfavourably in comparison to other social groups, and that the patterns are a reflection of the ideologies of the producers. A key result is that political conflicts in which Muslims have little involvement affect the way Muslims are represented, like gender politics and election rivalry.

Keywords: Critical discourse analysis, socio-cognitive analysis, ideology, British newspapers, Muslims.


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