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Language Use in the Public Sphere

Methodological Perspectives and Empirical Applications

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Edited By Inés Olza Moreno, Óscar Loureda Lamas and Manuel Casado

This book comprises a range of general discussions on tradition and innovation in the methodology used in discourse studies (Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis, Argumentation Theory, Rhetoric, Philosophy) and a number of empirical applications of such methodologies in the analysis of actual instances of language use in the public sphere – in particular, discourses arising in the context of the debate on the presence of religious symbols in public places.
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Representation in the Spanish Press of the Political Debate about Wearing Full Islamic Veils in Public Spaces: Inés Olza

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INÉS OLZA

Representation in the Spanish Press of the Political Debate about Wearing Full Islamic Veils in Public Spaces1

The purpose of this chapter is to explore the interplay between media and political communication, which can be analysed from at least two different perspectives: how political discourses are represented in the media, and how the eventual influence of media on political action and/or discourse may be discerned and defined.

This interplay is illustrated by reference to coverage in the main Spanish newspapers (El País, El Mundo and ABC) of the approval – in Lleida Council, Vendrell Council and the national Senate in Spain (May-June 2010) – of three controversial political motions enacting a ban on the wearing of full veils (burkas and niqabs) in public spaces. The principal argumentative strategies and ideological implications underlying these motions are examined, and their reflection – or manipulation – in selected news texts explored.

The analysis shows that such news coverage highlights certain argumentative implications that were deliberately masked in the political motions; and that, as may be expected, the representation of political discourse(s) also depends on the ideological orientation of each newspaper.

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