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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 9 refers to the function of ideology and its role in the reproduction and legitimation of ideas that aid in the promotion of group interests, which in the case of this study is the newspapers’ relative discursive construction of what constitutes “Chineseness” or “Japaneseness” and the reproduction of collective memory and historical continuity (Halbwachs, 1992). The mental component refers to the mental representations shared by the group and the mechanisms that guide behavior, such as attitudes, norms and values. This conception is similar to Hall’s (1986) view of ideology as “mental frameworks” and “systems of presentation” that individuals use to make sense of society and their own lives. National identity is one such mental representation and it is often structured in a polarized way that emphasizes the differences between ‘us’ and them’. This is linked with van Dijk’s notion of the ‘ideological square’ where various types of discourses are used at different levels to emphasize the ‘good’ and downplay the ‘bad’ of the self while concurrently highlighting the ‘bad’ and downplay the ‘good’ of the other. The discursive expression and reproduction component refers to how ideologies are expressed and reproduced through discourse. According to de Cillia et al. national identity is constructed and reproduced through various “reifying, figurative discourses continually launched by politicians, intellectuals and media people and disseminated through the systems of education, schooling, mass communication, militarization as well as through sports meetings” (p. 153). The content of such discourses can include the nation’s founding myths, achievements, successes and defeats. One example is history education in China where the State Education Commission in 1989 instituted new directives that made schools emphasize Chinese resistance to foreign invasion and the experience of national humiliation at the hands of imperial invaders. Such a construction thus represented Japan as an enemy and aggressor (He, 2007). Another example is the construction and reproduction of the narrative prevalent in Japan that it was a “victim” of the Second World War and not the instigator, a view partly

Authors: Chan, Michael.
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News, identity and ideology 9
refers to the function of ideology and its role in the reproduction and legitimation of ideas 
that aid in the promotion of group interests, which in the case of this study is the newspapers’ 
relative discursive construction of what constitutes “Chineseness” or “Japaneseness” and the 
reproduction of collective memory and historical continuity (Halbwachs, 1992). The mental 
component refers to the mental representations shared by the group and the mechanisms that 
guide behavior, such as attitudes, norms and values. This conception is similar to Hall’s 
(1986) view of ideology as “mental frameworks” and “systems of presentation” that 
individuals use to make sense of society and their own lives. National identity is one such 
mental representation and it is often structured in a polarized way that emphasizes the 
differences between ‘us’ and them’. This is linked with van Dijk’s notion of the ‘ideological 
square’ where various types of discourses are used at different levels to emphasize the ‘good’ 
and downplay the ‘bad’ of the self while concurrently highlighting the ‘bad’ and downplay 
the ‘good’ of the other. 
The discursive expression and reproduction component refers to how ideologies are 
expressed and reproduced through discourse. According to de Cillia et al. national identity is 
constructed and reproduced through various “reifying, figurative discourses continually 
launched by politicians, intellectuals and media people and disseminated through the systems 
of education, schooling, mass communication, militarization as well as through sports 
meetings” (p. 153). The content of such discourses can include the nation’s founding myths, 
achievements, successes and defeats. One example is history education in China where the 
State Education Commission in 1989 instituted new directives that made schools emphasize 
Chinese resistance to foreign invasion and the experience of national humiliation at the hands 
of imperial invaders. Such a construction thus represented Japan as an enemy and aggressor 
(He, 2007). Another example is the construction and reproduction of the narrative prevalent 
in Japan that it was a “victim” of the Second World War and not the instigator, a view partly 


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