Mandela's Children and Youth Day: Representations of National Identity in South African News Media
AuthorHodges-Popova, Mary Margaret
Committee ChairGilmore, Perry
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractFollowing the demise of apartheid, legislative, political and social practices were dramatically changed to promote equality and shared access for all South Africans. Newspapers and other mass media texts give insight to the co-construction of ethnic identity post-apartheid and evidence the emergence of a new dominant cultural narrative. In this new dominant cultural narrative, the trope of a colorblind national identity is frequently referenced. Another key component in this narrative construction is the memorialization of past traumatic events. This dissertation examines the news coverage of the 30th anniversary of the Soweto Uprisings, which occurred on June 16, 2006. The Soweto Uprisings will be framed as a "cultural trauma" (Alexander et al., 2004) and methods of critical discourse analysis will be used to examine the public construction of national identity in the post-apartheid era.The following questions guide the analysis of news media discourse: What changes to the South African national identity are evidenced in news stories covering the anniversary of the Soweto Uprisings? Do racially distinctive communities participate equally in the creation of this media discourse? In what ways are South African ethnic minorities "othered" in news features? How did/does the dominant cultural narrative evidenced in the media discourse influence the construction and management of racial identities in the larger context of South African society? The examination of the co-construction of national and racial identities in these news features draws upon an amalgamation of CDA methodologies outlined in Fairclough (1995, 1999), van Dijk (1988, 1991), and Wodak (Wodak & Weiss, Eds., 2003). The creation and re-creation of a shared history from the collective trauma of forcefully imposed, restrictive racialized communities is a dimension of national identity construction saliently evidenced by changes in the public discourse or dominant/counter narratives. Media discourse illustrates the emergence of colorblind national identity as the desirable, or default, national identity in post-apartheid South Africa and highlights the journalistic role in the creation and management of racial and national identities, liberation narratives, and reconciliatory discourses.
Degree ProgramSecond Language Acquisition & Teaching