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A Content Analysis of Rape Reports in Online Arabic Newspapers in the Gulf Region
Tharwat Mohamed EL-Sakran, Sarah Al Qahtani
American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Although Islamic Sharia laws accord high status and protection to women and minors in all Muslim countries, incidents of rape crimes remain frequent. Coverage of such crimes in Arab countries tends to be of a selective nature. This manifests itself in the type of rape crimes selected for coverage; whether they are local, regional, or international, and how much information is brought to the public’s attention. Reasons for such a tendency could be: the social status of the rapist or victim, their age, nationality and profession. This research examines the contents of rape reports. To this effect, rape reports from the two most read electronic newspapers in Gulf countries were selected for this research. An online search was conducted within the selected newspapers’ websites using specific rape keywords in Arabic to find answers to the research questions. A content analysis of the texts indicates that all writers of rape reports, regardless of their gender, describe sexual crimes as heinous. However, it is observed that victim blaming, albeit being inferred from between the lines and couched in terms of flagrant violations of the local cultural norms, its degree varies according to the victim’s age, nationality and marital status. Results also reveal that the report is used as a playground to underscore the efficiency and the strenuous efforts of the law enforcement personnel in arresting the rapist as well as for the defense lawyers to present their arguments for indicting the rapist or the victim and/or exonerating one or both of them.
Reframing Rape: Investigating Identities and Alternative Rape Culture in Extremist Discourses Online
Cardiff University, United Kingdom
Linguistic analyses of far-right discourses have traditionally focused on nationalist rhetoric or racist and ethnoreligious-based invective (for example: Brindle 2016). The explicit anti-feminist stance held by some far-right groups, specifically in relation to sexual offences against women, remains underexplored. This paper outlines findings from an ongoing corpus-assisted critical discourse analysis of blog posts on sites identifying as belonging to the Alternative Right (Alt-Right) or the right-wing men’s activist movement known as the Manosphere. While these factions can be distinguished by their primary concerns towards racial diversity (Alt-Right), and men’s rights (Manosphere), this study aims to highlight how their discourses converge in their portrayal of victims and perpetrators of sexual violence against women.
The presentation focuses on two investigative areas to contribute to work on countering violent extremism online: (1) the overlaps in ascribed and inhabited identities in Alt-Right and Manosphere discourses; and (2) how rape and sexual assault are reframed, effectively redefining what rape is and, crucially, what it is not. This shared alternative rape culture often excuses sexual violence; shifts responsibility in line with the wider ideologies they promote; and provides the ‘gateway drug’ (Romano 2016) said to be radicalising men from the Manosphere into the extreme far right.
Brindle, A. (2016). Cancer Has Nothing on Islam: A Study of Discourses by Group Elite and Supporters of the English Defence League. Critical Discourse Studies. 13(4). pp. 444-459.
Romano, A. (2016). ‘How the alt-right’s sexism lures men into white supremacy.’ Vox, 14th December 2016. Available online at: http://www.vox.com/culture/ 2016/12/14/13576192/alt-right-sexism-recruitment
Bloody Thumbprints, Quantum Grammar, and “Freemen Upon the Land”: A Novel Methodology for the Analysis of Sovereign Citizen Pseudolegal Documents
Cardiff University, United Kingdom
The Sovereign Citizen movement is a loosely-organized group of anti-government conspiracy theorists that exists around the world. Sovereign Citizens have developed their own system of complex pseudolegal discourse that they employ as part of their interactions with courts and the wider legal system (Laird 2014). Though the documents they produce may at first glance resemble those found in the regular legal process, they often contain a variety of unconventional features including nonstandard usage of grammar and punctuation, highly specific arrangements of red thumbprints and postage stamps, and even blood used as ink, all of which mark them as something decidedly distinct (Anti-Defamation League 2016). Religious studies scholars have proposed that these documents are better thought of as instances of ritual magic practice in which Sovereign Citizens attempt to appropriate the institutional authority of the legal system and use it against itself (Wessinger 1999). This paper describes a novel methodology designed to analyze the complex intertextual relationship between the pseudolegal writings of the Sovereign citizen movement, legitimate legal documents, and ritual magic. Drawing variously upon the fields of multimodal corpus linguistics (Bateman 2008), genre analysis (Bhatia 2004), and semiotics (Kress and Van Leeuwen 2006), this approach provides an adaptable mixed methods framework with which to compare such multimodal informationally-dense genres. This paper will discuss the results of a recent pilot study and its findings regarding the relationship between the three above-mentioned genres as well as the suitability of the method for use in linguistic analysis more generally.
Presentation and Comprehensibility of Public Policies in Online News Articles
Michelle Anne Marasigan
University of Santo Tomas, Philippines
Language is the primary vehicle in which public policies are expressed for “all concepts in law are linguistically constituted and expressed” (Silbey, 1989, p. 1) to the people. Today, these public policies are acquired and consumed largely by the public through the internet media. However, the comprehensibility of these texts become a problematic situation since laws have a reputation of being incomprehensible due to the complexities of the legal language. Hence, this research aimed at looking into how public policies are integrated in online news articles. Furthermore, the study attempted to determine the text comprehensibility of these articles among the lay people in explaining the details of the laws embedded within these texts. Forty online news articles containing the Free Tuition Law and TRAIN Law were collected from two online news organizations in the Philippines. Kosicki and Pan’s (1991) Framing Analysis through syntactic structures was used to determine as to how laws were incorporated in the news articles. Meanwhile, a focus group discussion was conducted to determine how the lay readers comprehend the legal information in the articles. This study revealed that although public policy related news articles have similar dominant presentation styles, it can be noted that they also have differences. This can be attributed to the political climate in which the laws were passed that became a substantial variable to the content as well as the way public policies were presented in online news articles, which in turn affected the comprehension of the readers on the public policies.