The ideological organization of representational processes in the presentation of us and them

Oktar L.

DISCOURSE & SOCIETY, vol.12, no.3, pp.313-346, 2001 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0957926501012003003
  • Journal Name: DISCOURSE & SOCIETY
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.313-346
  • Keywords: critical discourse analysis, media discourse, negative other-presentation, positive self-presentation, social identity theory, systemic-functional grammar, transitivity, DISCOURSE
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: No


The present study, drawing on the work of Teun A. Van Dijk (1998) to theorize the relations between discourse and ideology, aims to show how social groups (us vs them) are presented in discourse and how ideological discourse is constructed socio-politically as a means to confirm group dominance, Simultaneously, this study uses critical discourse analysis as a methodology which grounds the theoretical claims in the idea that both the ideological loading of particular ways of using certain linguistic forms systematically and the relations of power which underlie them is often unclear to people. In this sense, critical discourse analysis aims to make these opaque aspects of discourse explicit. In doing this, critical discourse analysis gives attention to the grammar and vocabulary of texts. Three dimensions of the clause grammar are differentiated transitivity, modality and theme. These correspond to, respectively, ideational, interpersonal, and textual functions of language. The focus in this study is upon aspects of clause grammar which have to do with ideational meanings. By determining the transitivity patterns expressed with propositions through representational processes in the opinion-editorial articles that appeared in two Turkish daily newspapers with different ideological orientations, this article claims that representational processes play a significant role in the well known ideological square of positive self-presentation and negative other-presentation suggested by social identity theory, for controlling the social representations of us and them in the context of ideological conflict exhibited in 'secular' and 'anti-secular' discourses.