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Carrying a Torch

The Beijing Olympic Torch Relay in the British and Chinese Media


Mei Yang

The Olympic torch relay held before the 2008 Games was the moment when East met West on the media stage. This book analyses the torch relay and its representation, offering a discursive construction of Olympic ideology by and through the media in both East and West. The author argues that the discourse used by the media in different social contexts reflected the diversity of ideologies and cultural values with which the Olympic flame was imbued.
A corpus-based Discourse-Historical Approach in Critical Discourse Analysis (DHA-CDA) is applied to media discourse in the United Kingdom and in China to examine the complexity, contradiction and conflicts in linguistic interpretations of Olympic ideology. Corpora drawn from the China Daily, BBC News and The Guardian are described, interpreted in their linguistic contexts, and then explained in terms of the broader historical and socio-political contexts surrounding the dynamic life of the Olympic torch relay. This unique study sheds light on the significance of the Olympic Games for East-West media discourse and analysis.
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I would like to express my gratitude to Professor Barbara Fennell, my teacher, mentor and friend. Her positive influence, patience, astuteness, faith and encouragement will accompany me throughout my career, as I remember her invaluable assistance in the past several years. Her rigorous criticism has been very beneficial to me.

I thank Dr Lukas Pokorny for his invaluable comments and great help on this book. Dr Pokorny’s profound knowledge widened my horizons – his influence is precious and irreplaceable. I owe a great debt to his intellectual generosity.

I owe much gratitude to Dr Mark Garner’s valuable comments and suggestions throughout this study. His immense work helping me to turn my PhD dissertation into a book has made the hard work a great pleasure.

I sincerely thank Professor Ian P. Henry, Professor Ruth Wodak, Professor Theo van Leeuwen and Dr Cao Qing for their invaluable suggestions on the core concepts of this book.

I owe particular thanks to Mr Edwin Campbell and Mrs Margaret Campbell, who supported me without reservation. My gratitude and fondness go to Alan, Lynne and Catriona Johnson. They are my family in Aberdeen.

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