Activating Latent Prejudice: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Media in Jordan and Algeria

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The origins of discrimination and prejudice continue to be poorly understood. Most scholars agree that the right-wing authoritarian personality trait can strongly predict someone’s potential for prejudice. This study aims to determine how authoritarian regimes might attempt to activate this personality trait in order to garner a popular support base for their authoritarian rule. Specifically, it will look at dominant and competing discourses and how these discourses shape the identity of the in-group and of the possible out-group(s). To test the hypothesis that authoritarian regimes will attempt to activate right-wing authoritarian personality traits in their society, we conducted a critical discourse analysis of regime-friendly media outlets in Jordan and Algeria two weeks prior to the parliamentary elections in the former, and two weeks prior to the national referendum on constitutional reform in the latter. The decision to focus on these national decision-making events was made for the reason that these events are expected to function as ideal opportunities for incumbent regimes to set the agenda and disseminate their approved narrative. The results of the analysis show that the dominant discourses in the Algerian texts were different to the dominant discourses in the Jordanian texts as the former texts focused particularly on internal out-groups and made extensive use of ‘othering,’ while the latter texts focused particularly on external out-groups and engaged less actively in ‘othering’. When taking into account the sociocultural context, we suggest that weak incumbent regimes will engage more actively in ‘othering’ compared to regimes that are relatively stable.

A Critical Discourse Analysis Of Media In Jordan And Algeria

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