Discursive strategies used by political parties in the Bahraini Council of Representatives: a critical discourse analysis of religious ideologies in politic language
Al-Kooheji, Lamya Abdulmajeed Mohammed
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This study attempts to present the relations between discourse and ideology in debates taking place in the Bahraini Council of Representatives. It uses critical discourse analysis (CDA) and the Sociocognitive Approach (SCA) to ground the theoretical claims in the idea that Shiite members of parliament (MPs) in the Bahraini Council of Representatives employ discursive strategies differently from Sunni MPs. To test this hypothesis, the research aims first to observe whether, and if so how, the Sunni parties and the Shiite party employ discursive devices and strategies differently to achieve three ideological goals: attempting to gain political advantage discursively in parliamentary debates on topics related to dissent control and political freedom; manoeuvring the definitions of self and others in the contexts of dissent control and political rights; and manipulating the law to support one’s party’s and/or sectarian affiliation’s ideological stances about dissent-controlling laws and the definition of political freedom and political rights. The second aim of the research is to explore whether and how the use of discursive devices and strategies reflects the sectarian ideological conflict in Bahrain. The research critically analyses excerpts on dissent control and personal freedom from the Hansard of the Bahraini Council of Representatives. The research first marks discursive devices used by MPs. It then identifies discursive strategies. The research detects three major discursive strategies that are fulfilled by using the devices and called them ‘corroborating by information’; ‘intensifying grievance’; and ‘centralising pride and dignity’. The analysis shows that some discursive devices are used more intensively, though not exclusively, under certain strategies. The research also notes that the Shiite party, Al Wefaq, employs the strategy of intensifying grievance more often than other strategies. The Al Wefaq members demonstrate more tendency toward objecting than do the other parties to the dissent control in Bahrain. The research relates this tendency to the ideologies of Shi’ism as a religious and political institution that heavily relies on the ideology of protest and the feeling of injustice and discrimination. Finally, the research provides a preview of the use of identified strategies during the unrest that started in Bahrain in February 2011.