Representations of 'honour killing' in Pakistani newspapers: a critical discourse analysis

BHANBHRO, Sadiq (2014). Representations of 'honour killing' in Pakistani newspapers: a critical discourse analysis. In: Why Discourse Matters? Theoretical and Methodological Practices of Discourse Analysis - 2nd Graduate conference, Frankfurt Germany, 25 -26 April 2014. (Unpublished)

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This study applied a critical discourse analysis approach to examine newspaper coverage including articles, editorials, pictures, letters to editor, features and stories related to 'honour killings' during 2013. The objective was to elucidate the social effects of discourse that is how events, relationships and people are represented in discourse concerning honour murders. The study analysed reporting of two national English newspapers that reaffirm transecting norms relating to race, ethnicity, culture, class and gender that together illustrate central values of Pakistani society as 'tribal, feudal and patriarchal' in context of honour murder incidents. The analysis revealed that the term 'honour killing' is overwhelmingly used in mass media to represent such murders; the overuse of the term 'honour killing' in media has formed some sort of a legitimacy around the act that is not deserved. Further, the newspaper production and presentation of honour murder events as cultural one, with its basis in the remnants of feudal, tribal and patriarchal culture, is misleading and disguises a wider understanding of why these murders persist. The media discourse presenting killings, as occurrences outside the framework of the law, is often ethno-centric and avoids the problematization of law itself, which historically has moulded this practice as customary that allows other stereotypes of race, class, gender, culture and ethnicity, which then have other political repercussions to set in. Generally, coverage and illustration of murders in the name of honour are restricted to victim-perpetrator sphere that camouflages the wider contextual factors and information in which incidents took place. Subsequently, the newspapers represent the discourse in relation to murder in the name of honour as 'it is a family/private matter', which provide a pretext to public institutions including police and judiciary to circumvent intervention. The analysis suggests that the newspapers have constructed and embodied the discourse related to the practice of murders in the name of honour as a part of a cultural value system, in which 'family honour' is valued more than anything. This makes hard to challenge such argument and the discourse limits the understanding of factors and mechanisms that maintain and encourage such practices.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Depositing User: Sadiq Bhanbhro
Date Deposited: 28 May 2015 08:51
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 08:45

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