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Investigating Conflict Discourses in the Periodical Press

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Edited By Giuliana Elena Garzone, Mara Logaldo and Francesca Santulli

The contributions collected in this book deal with the representation of conflict in the periodical press, which has often been an arena of adversarial stances, staged and enacted either within the same publication or enlarged to involve various newspapers and magazines in a series of provocations and replies. Underlying all the contributions is the awareness that the periodical press provides an ideal terrain for research on the discursive representation of conflict, having the prerogative to combine insight with a constant updating of the debate. The issue is approached in an interdisciplinary perspective, bringing linguistics and discourse analysis with Periodical Studies, hence highlighting the connection between language and ideology. The focus on lexical choices and rhetorical devices used to tackle current controversial issues such as Brexit, immigration, violence in sports, policies regarding health and food, women’s role and legal matters ultimately transcends national boundaries to become more widely representative of today’s discourses of conflict.

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A Clash of Opinions in the Italian Press: Context and Contest

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1 Background, aim and method

In recent years, disability issues have been frequently debated both in institutional contexts and in society at large. The growing interest for the problems of persons with disabilities is certainly linked to the evolution of the concept itself, which culminated in the ICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health) model adopted in 2001 by the World Health Organization (WHO). The new international standard abandons the traditional medical model and describes disabilities in terms of interaction between the individual and the environment (Borgnolo et al.: 2009). This new perspective, adopted in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, is the official framework for the recognition and handling of all disabilities, yet the cultural change which should accompany institutional and legal provisions is far from being completed. Different ideological interpretations of disabilities still co-exist, usually covertly conveyed in discourse, and sometimes produce overt confrontation among experts and laymen alike. This controversy (Dascal 2001) extends from social issues to scientific notions.

The aim of this chapter is to investigate how these contrasting ideologies are represented in the press, focusing in particular on the conflict concerning the notion and the treatment of dyslexia in Italy, in the crucial period when special legislation on this disorder was introduced (2010). In the framework of the ideological implications of classification and definition, the different possibilities of interpreting the dyslexia phenomenon will be examined, considering both international sources (§ 2) and the specific Italian...

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