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The Guggenheim Bilbao Museum in the Basque nationalist press: discursive and rhetorical analysis

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posted on 16.10.2012, 11:19 authored by Angel B. Durandegui
This study analysed the reporting of the debate over the Guggenheim Bilbao in the Basque nationalist newspapers Egin and Diario Vasco. I was looking at differences/similarities between the newspapers, and at how argumentation changed over time (1997/1998), drawing upon content analysis, discourse analysis of the ideological themes in the reporting and an indepth analysis of two editorials, one in Spanish and one in Basque. The content analysis confirmed that economy and Basque culture/identity were highly controversial themes; and that in 1998 the museum became more accepted. An analysis of rhetorical strategies e.g. quantification rhetoric for economic predictions; vagueness/evasiveness to portray the Basques' reception of modem architecture/art, permitted the examination of intragroup/intergroup models of interaction, strategies and underlying ideological dilemmas (Billig et ai, 1988). After the inauguration, Diario Vasco claimed that the museum was concerned with Basque modem art, while Egin maintained a cautious distance. The in-depth comparative analysis of political rhetoric in two Egin's editorials, reporting similar events in Basque or Spanish, confirmed that the use of these different languages involves different construction of the readership; and different strategies to convey communality between writer/reader. In the Basque language editorial, communality was cautiously constructed until an assertive we Basques stressed search of unity, differentiation, and sovereignty: conflict/differences between Basques were omitted, backgrounded or ironized, while differences with the Spanish foregrounded. In the Spanish editorial, an impersonal third person tone avoided using the rhetoric of we. Specific Basques were blamed for the repression of Basque secessionism. A dramatic tone suggested subtle criticism against ETA, yet implying that it was reasonable to include ETA among the human victims. The explicit nation state's deixis in the Spanish editorial implied Spain was the nation state. In the Basque context the nation state's deixis was ambiguous: we Basques might be used to address Basques beyond French-Spanish boundaries, suggesting a long-term representation/project that imagined Basqueness beyond its present-day administrative division or actual political influence. The implications of such fine detail differences were discussed.



  • Social Sciences


  • Communication, Media, Social and Policy Studies


© Angel Beldarrain Durandegui

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University

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