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LINGUIST List 23.3618

Wed Aug 29 2012

Diss: Applied Linguistics: Eagleton: 'The “Ultimate Aim”...'

Editor for this issue: Lili Xia <lxialinguistlist.org>

Date: 28-Aug-2012
From: Jennifer Eagleton <jennyasian-emphasis.com>
Subject: The “Ultimate Aim”: Discourses of future democratization in post-handover Hong Kong
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Institution: Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
Program: Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: Jennifer Anne Eagleton

Dissertation Title: The “Ultimate Aim”: Discourses of future democratization in post-handover Hong Kong

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Dissertation Director:
Christopher N. Candlin

Dissertation Abstract:

This critical discourse study deals with Hong Kong's unique position as
a Special Administrative Region of China (SAR) with a constitution, The
Basic Law, which promises full universal suffrage in the future. It
explores how public media and other commentators discuss this future
democratization through the use of metaphor and its connections
across diverse discourse contexts both synchronically and
diachronically (Cameron & Maslen 2010).

Drawing on Wodak's discourse-historical framework (Wodak 2001), this
study integrates and triangulates knowledge from a variety of historical
intertextual sources. Although metaphor as a persuasive tool in political
discourse is its primary research focus (Charteris-Black 2005), a
number of other analytic methods are used in order to more fully
explore and explain the multiple perspectives involved.

Preliminary chapters focus on Hong Kong's "historical realities", the
research approach and methodology taken. Chapter 4 then analyses
The Basic Law as framer and central text in this discourse. It seeks to
display how events involved in its drafting led to a politically motivated
ambiguity concerning the progress of Hong Kong's future
democratization. How this progress was reflected in texts from the print
media (both in English and in Chinese) evidences how such a progress
was contested linguistically.

Central to understanding the arguments concerning Hong Kong's
constitutional reform in the light of how it is framed in the Basic Law is
an appreciation of the ideological stance taken by its framers and its
interpreters. Chapter 5 focuses on the stance of Hong Kong political
parties through an analysis of the factors shaping their habitus
(Bourdieu 1991). Membership categorization analysis (Sacks 1972) is
then used to show how these parties categorize themselves (through
party logos and manifestos) and their opponents (through newspaper
texts) metaphorically.

The print media play a central role in mediating the discourse(s) about
Hong Kong's future democratization. To understand this mediation, and
given that its discourses represent an ongoing dialogue referencing
past events, Chapter 6 provides a necessary chronology, listing major
political events from January 1998 to December 2007, illuminated by a
critical account of the metaphors that each event gave rise to in the
press. This parallel interlinking of events and metaphors indicates how
metaphors are carried forward in the discourse through repetition,
relexicalization or explication.

Chapter 7, the penultimate chapter, offers, from a discourse
perspective, a case study of the 2007 Green Paper on Constitutional
Development. This document represents a summary of the decade-
long discourse of Hong Kong's democratization and seeks to
incorporate, intertextually and interdiscursively, all the texts previously
drawn upon in the thesis. Analysis of the layout and contents of this
document, and how it was described in news metaphor, highlights the
consistency in arguments and metaphors over the previous decade,
and earlier. The Green Paper gave rise to further documents that led
to Beijing announcing a possible date for Hong Kong to achieve the
"ultimate aim" of universal suffrage.

Finally, in Chapter 8, after discussing and classifying the metaphor
topics and themes explored, a metaphorical "map" offers a
summarizing portrait of Hong Kong's democratization process.

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