Images of the Arab–Islamic world in the media: a quantitative and qualitative study of the western press, 1978–1993

2018-03-23T10:10:09Z (GMT) by Taghreed R. Al-Mulla
The thesis examines the historical emergence of modes of perception, interpretation and evaluation within Western European nations of what has been termed Arab Islamic culture. It is argued that the West perceives Arab Islamic East as "Other" or "Them", but that the content of this "Otherness" shifts over time according to a range of historical, political, cultural and economic factors. The two central themes that emerge within these modes of interpretation are termed "Romanticism" and "Negativity/Hostility". The manifestation of these two themes is traced from antiquity to the modern age. The thesis demonstrates the continuities, shifts and transformations of these two themes throughout the history of European engagements with the Arab Islamic East. In addition to a comprehensive survey of Western literary and cultural interpretations of the Arab Islamic East, the study provides a content analysis of the presentation of Arab Islamic acts and events on the world stage in six modern Western newspapers. The content analysis and its evaluation are both quantitative and qualitative. The findings of the content analysis confirm much of the theoretical work of the earlier chapters. The central finding of this thesis is the gradual erosion of an earlier "Romanticist" interpretation and its increasing replacement by forms of interpretations summarised by the term "Negativity/Hostility". This process is not considered to be irreversible and the thesis hopes to contribute to more adequate, comprehensive and empathetic evaluations and relations between East and West.