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Identities across Media and Modes: Discursive Perspectives

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Edited By Giuliana Elena Garzone and Paola Catenaccio

The recognition that identity is mutable, multi-layered and subject to multiple modes of construction and de-construction has contributed to problematizing the issues associated with its representation in discourse, which has recently been attracting increasing attention in different disciplinary areas. Identity representation is the main focus of this volume, which analyses instances of multimedia and multimodal communication to the public at large for commercial, informative, political or cultural purposes. In particular, it examines the impact of the increasingly sophisticated forms of expression made available by the evolution of communication technologies, especially in computer-mediated or web-based settings, but also in more traditional media (press, cinema, TV). The basic assumption shared by all contributors is that communication is the locus where identities, either collective, social or individual, are deliberately constructed and negotiated.
In their variety of topics and approaches, the studies collected in this volume testify to the criticality of representing personal, professional and organizational identities through the new media, as their ability to reach a virtually unlimited audience amplifies the potential political, cultural and economic impact of discursive identity constructions. They also confirm that new highly sophisticated media can forge identities well beyond the simply iconic or textual representation, generating deeply interconnected webs of meaning capable of occupying an expanding – and adaptable – discursive space.

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ANNA MARCHI / CHARLOTTE TAYLOR Who Was Fighting and Who/What Was Being Fought? The Construction of Participants’ Identities in UK and US Reporting of the Iraq War 259

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ANNA MARCHI / CHARLOTTE TAYLOR Who Was Fighting and Who/What Was Being Fought? The Construction of Participants’ Identities in UK and US Reporting of the Iraq War 1. Introduction This study addresses the media reporting of the conflict in Iraq in 2003 and analyses the linguistic representation of the participants in the war. As Fowler (1991: 4) states, “[t]here are always different ways of saying the same thing, and they are not random, accidental alterna- tives. Differences in expression carry ideological distinctions (and thus differences in representation)”. Our aim is to identify such differences in expression and to describe how they were used to construe various participants in the UK press over a specific period, on the basis of the theoretical assumption that, as social identities are enacted in discourse, they can be uncovered through discourse analysis. From the analysis we conclude that the reporting of this war was characterised by vagueness regarding the enemy, which appears as a one dimensional and under-defined Other in the metaphorical war on terror. 1.1. Research questions On March 19 and 20 2003 George W. Bush and Tony Blair each gave an address to the nation, announcing the start of the Iraq war, a war which still dominates the press today. These addresses are starting points for our research, which aims at achieving insights into what kind of war was about to start and what its explicit goals were. In both speeches there is little reference to ‘war’. Bush talks about “early Anna...

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