Mari Wakili

Media goes Nuclear; The Orientalist construction of Iran in The New York Times

This research project engages with Edward Said’s study of Orientalism to investigate the dichotomy of “us vs. them”, West vs. East and Occident vs. the Orient of Iran in relation to United States media, in particular in the New York Times. This study is primarily focused on how Iran is represented as the Orient in the framing and agenda of newspaper articles.

For this thesis, six articles have been chosen for analysis to research how the manner of Orientalism is applied in The New York Times. Whilst, examining the six articles four main themes were recognized, which included; Language of threat, Islam as the alien Other, The voice of authority and finally- Isolating the Quarantine.

The study of Critical Discourse Analysis, in regards to social action, was used to discover how Orientalism was operationalized. The identity of Iran as the “Other” and America’s identity of itself, in particular, was shaped through the concept of “Orientalism”.

Orientalism was achieved due to the Occident’s suppression of the Orients voice. The Orientalist perception of Iran as ‘irrational’/ ‘inferior’/ ‘threat’ was legitimized through the voice of authority. The texts analysed, engaged with Stuart Hall’s theory; where language of “difference” was used to reinforce the formation of the discourse of Iran vs. “West”. The articles reinforce the absence of rationality and civil society in Iran, furthermore underpinning Said’s agreement about “Western superiority” and “Oriental inferiority”.