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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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Chapter 1: Olympism in media discourse



This book attempts to explore the discursive1 construction of Olympic ideology in the 2008 Torch Relay news coverage by the British and the Chinese media. It applies a corpus-based Discourse-Historical Approach in Critical Discourse Analysis (DHA-CDA) to analyse how and why the complexity, contradiction and conflicts in linguistic interpretations of Olympism are demonstrated by the media discourse between East and West.

CDA is an approach to the analysis of discourse which views language as a social practice and is interested in the ways that ideologies and power relations are expressed through language. Describing discourse as social practice implies a dialectical relationship between a particular discursive event and the situation(s), institution(s) and social structure(s) that frame it: the discursive event is shaped by them, but it also shapes them. That is, discourse is socially constitutive as well as socially conditioned – it constitutes situations, objects of knowledge, and the social identities of, and relationships between, people and groups of people. It is constitutive both in the sense that it helps to sustain and reproduce the social status quo and in the sense that it contributes to transforming it (Fairclough and Wodak 1997: 258). Unlike many other forms of linguistic analysis, CDA is not only concerned with words on a page but also involves examining social context (Baker and Ellece 2010: 26). Various approaches to CDA have been ← 1 | 2 → proposed and all tend towards combining text analysis with consideration of the wider social...

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