عنوان مقاله [English]
نویسندگان [English]چکیده [English]
Introduction and problematic of research: This paper explores discursive features of activation and passivation in Iran's nuclear program based on critical discourse analysis and socio-semantic features mentioned in Van Leeuwen’s theoretical framework (1996). These two features are the most applicable ones in the model. There is no doubt that contemporary mass media are very effective in forming public opinion. Media represent the hidden beliefs, ideologies and discourses. In fact, media make an iconic environment that forms mental images of their audiences about the outside world. In news coverage related to Iran's nuclear program, the authorities try to impose their ideologies through special linguistic structures such as socio-semantic features to influence the general public's thought and the audience's way of understanding social issues related to the program.
Theoretical framework: This research is based on the analytical framework of van Leeuwen (1996) and his approach to “the representation of social actors”, i.e., a framework that he offered in order to investigate English language facilities for representing social actors. He (2008, 23-24) argues that instead of using the usual linguistics categories such as passivation or nominalization, one must draw up a socio-semantic inventory by using socio-semantic features in order to be able to develop critical discourse analysis. There are two reasons for doing that. The first, stems from the lack of bi-uniqueness of language, in fact there is no neat fit between sociological and linguistic categories. The second reason is somewhat different and follows the assumption that meanings belong to culture rather than to language and cannot be tied to any special semiotics. This model has two main features and different subcategories. The two main features are exclusion which means excluding the social actor from discourse, and the second one is inclusion which means presence of the social actor in discourse. Each of them has different subcategories, for example suppression is exclusion's subcategory, and activation and passivation are inclusion's subcategories.
Methodology: Various studies in critical discourse analysis of media show that news are mostly discourse structured and hidden ideologies are presented by using specific linguistic features in news. Accordingly the aim of this study is to explore modes of reflection of activation and passivation as two discursive features. The paper will also explore the frequency of their usage in a selection of local and international newspaper headlines about Iran’s nuclear program during 2011-2012. Newspaper headlines from two Persian-language newspapers namely Keyhan and Iran and two English-language newspapers such as Guardian and Washington Post were selected through online websites during April 2011 to February 2012. The headlines were categorized and analyzed quantitatively by Excel software, and then analyzed and interpreted qualitatively according to van Leeuwen’s analytical framework (1996).
Findings: Some of the findings showed that the two features of activation and passivation were used highly in both local and international newspapers, but the way of using them, especially in foreign newspapers, was based on the ideology they advocated. The findings also showed that there are two new points that were not mentioned by Van Leeuwen. First one was activation through questioning, and the other was positive and negative activation of social actors.
Positive and negative activation of social actors in the newspapers represent the ideology they support. So, they try to impose it on the other side by utilizing the features deliberately and intelligently. It has been done by activation of the social actors who supported them in positive actions and in turn, activation of the other side of social actors in negative actions. It is a way to show that they have more power and the other side is affected by their higher power. In local newspapers, Iranian social actors have been activated in positive actions, such as expressing Iran's nuclear achievements and supporting its nuclear program and on the other side, positions who are against Iran's nuclear program have been negatively activated in actions, such as involvement in the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists and being the main obstacle to establishing a Middle East free from nuclear weapons. It has been more clearly used in foreign newspapers. Social actors who were in line with the ideology dominated the newspapers have been positively activated in actions such as stopping Iran's nuclear and destructive program and dealing with its incompatibility about its nuclear program. Iranian social actors have been activated negatively in trying to have access to nuclear weapons and become a potential threat to other countries.
In quantitative analysis of the data, despite the fact that the percentage of utilizing activation feature in local newspapers is higher than foreign newspapers, but the way of utilizing this feature has been subject of the ideology of media owners. Thus, in the foreign newspapers and in accordance with the ideology they support, in a large percentage of titles, Iran/Iranian politicians have been activated in negative actions and in specific situations such as negotiations with major powers. This was situation in which they were in passive position. This is also visible in local newspapers, though with less intensity. It has been used by using different types of sentences. Indeed, intellectual utilization of the features was led to propose adding two new subcategories of features to this pattern in the form of positive and negative activation by the authors. The authors believe that if the positive and negative activation are considered as two subcategories for the feature of activation in van Leeuwen’s model, it will be added to its efficiency.