How is Islam Portrayed in Western Media? A Critical Discourse Analysis Perspective

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D Student, Department of English Language, Sheikh Bahaee University, Isfahan

2 Assistant Professor, English Language Center, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan


This study tries to critically unravel the way Islam is represented in western discourse through establishing the relationship between language and ideology, the forms it takes and its potential effect. To that end, headlines from widely circulated print media of the west including the Independent, the New York Times, the Herald Tribune, and The Times from January 1, 2008 to December 30, 2012 were selected and Islam and Muslim reproductions were studied therein. This study was carried out using a synthesis of Edward Said's notion of "Orientalism" and Van Dijk's notion of "ideological square", characterized by "positive self-presentation" and a simultaneous "negative other presentation". The analysis demonstrated that Islam is repetitively stereotyped and Muslims are negatively represented, both through various types of linguistic choices selected and via special construction of the headlines.  The educational implications of critical discourse analysis in general and the present study in particular are discussed in relation to teaching, learning and translating the English language.


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