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The discursive reproduction of Chinese and Japanese national identities: Editorials and opinions of the East China Sea dispute in the China Daily and Daily Yomiuri
Unformatted Document Text:  News, identity and ideology 23 discourse that is in line with the ideological status quo of the respective ruling elite, which in turn constitutes the social representations of the nation as a whole. Critical discourse scholars have long pointed out that the media has the ability to reproduce the dominant ideologies and social order of a nation in which it is a part (e.g. van Dijk, 1988). It appears that international newspapers that are aimed at targeting international and cosmopolitan readers are no exception. This study shows the coverage of the East China Sea dispute is far from ‘international’ and the discourses are structured according to the respective ideologies and national identities of the ‘home’ nations. Rather than engendering feelings of a ‘global consciousness’ or laying the ground work for a ‘cosmopolitan citizenship’ as put forward by some global public sphere theorists, the two international newspapers constitute part of the wider ideological struggle between two economically- powerful nations who have been engaged in the discursive contestation of national identity and collective memory for several decades. In this regard, Critical Discourse Analysis offers an important perspective and approach to the study of the globalization of journalism by looking closely at the wider historical contexts of nations in which the newspapers are published and the various linguistic features of the news itself. Some limitations and suggestions for further research should be noted. This study focused on national identity only at the ‘top-down’ discourse production level. An important avenue of further research is to explore how people ‘read’ such national identities from the ‘bottom-up’. This is related to van Dijk’s conception of ‘mental models’ which mediate discourse and ideology. Ideology is not passively received by individuals but is negotiated in relation to their own values and life experiences. An internationally-educated Chinese will have different subjective experiences and mental representations of China compared to an Australian reader who will also have different mental representations as someone from Canada. How would an American national reading the US edition of the China Daily react to

Authors: Chan, Michael.
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News, identity and ideology 23
discourse that is in line with the ideological status quo of the respective ruling elite, which in 
turn constitutes the social representations of the nation as a whole. 
Critical discourse scholars have long pointed out that the media has the ability to 
reproduce the dominant ideologies and social order of a nation in which it is a part (e.g. van 
Dijk, 1988). It appears that international newspapers that are aimed at targeting international 
and cosmopolitan readers are no exception. This study shows the coverage of the East China 
Sea dispute is far from ‘international’ and the discourses are structured according to the 
respective ideologies and national identities of the ‘home’ nations. Rather than engendering 
feelings of a ‘global consciousness’ or laying the ground work for a ‘cosmopolitan 
citizenship’ as put forward by some global public sphere theorists, the two international 
newspapers constitute part of the wider ideological struggle between two economically-
powerful nations who have been engaged in the discursive contestation of national identity 
and collective memory for several decades. In this regard, Critical Discourse Analysis offers 
an important perspective and approach to the study of the globalization of journalism by 
looking closely at the wider historical contexts of nations in which the newspapers are 
published and the various linguistic features of the news itself.
Some limitations and suggestions for further research should be noted. This study 
focused on national identity only at the ‘top-down’ discourse production level.  An important 
avenue of further research is to explore how people ‘read’ such national identities from the 
‘bottom-up’. This is related to van Dijk’s conception of ‘mental models’ which mediate 
discourse and ideology. Ideology is not passively received by individuals but is negotiated in 
relation to their own values and life experiences. An internationally-educated Chinese will 
have different subjective experiences and mental representations of China compared to an 
Australian reader who will also have different mental representations as someone from 
Canada. How would an American national reading the US edition of the China Daily react to 


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