Representation of honour killings: critical discourse analysis of Pakistani English-language newspapers.

BHANBHRO, Sadiq (2015). Representation of honour killings: critical discourse analysis of Pakistani English-language newspapers. In: TOMAS, Julia and EPPLE, Nicole, (eds.) Sexuality, oppression and human rights. Oxford, Interdisciplinary Press.

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This study analysed newspaper coverage related to ‘honour killings’ in Pakistan using a critical discourse analysis approach. The objective was to elucidate the social effects of honour-based murders from this discourse including the relationships of the incidents and the people represented. The study examined the reports of three Pakistani English-language dailies that reiterate transecting norms relating to ethnicity, culture, class and gender. Such transections illustrate central values of Pakistani society in context of honour-based murders as ‘tribal, feudal and patriarchal.’ The study found that the overuse of the terms ‘Honour Killing’ and ‘Karo-Kari’ are clichéd in the newspapers portraying such murders; the overuse of which has formed legitimacy around the act that is not deserved. The newspaper production and depiction of honour-based murder incidents as cultural, with its basis in the remnants of feudal, tribal and patriarchal only, is misleading and such interpretation conceals the possible connections with other social, economic, and political factors. The print media discourse presenting honour-based murders, as incidences outside the framework of law and public policy, evades the problematisation of law and policy domains. The reporting and illustration of honour-based murders were restricted to a victim-perpetrator sphere that camouflages the involvement of other actors such as family, community and clan. The newspapers represent the discourse of honour-based murder as a family/private matter, which provides a pretext to the state institutions including police, judiciary, and district administration to circumvent intervention. The analysis revealed that the newspapers have constructed and embodied the discourse related to the practice of honour-based violence as a part of a cultural value system, in which ‘family honour’ is valued more than anything. This culturalised explanation makes it hard to challenge such argument, and the discourse limits the understanding of factors, mechanisms and actors that maintain and encourage such practices.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Paper originally presented 30th July 2014 at the 1st Global conference on Sexuality, Oppression and Human Rights, held at Mansfield College, Oxford, 30th-31st July 2014.
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 15:43
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 13:45

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