Discourse analysis : A linguistic study of the French press's representation of the political crisis in Tahiti (2004-2005) - in Le Figaro, Le Monde and La Liberation.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
French Polynesia went through a political crisis from 2004 to 2005 which constituted an important chapter in the history of this recently upgraded 'Pays d'Outre-mer'. After the general elections of May 2004 in Tahiti, a series of controversial events unfolded which created polarity among the local people and which destabilised the government. This research aims to study qualitatively how the Tahitian political crisis is constructed by the French press, namely, le Figaro, le Monde and la Libération. Based on the CDA framework and Halliday's systemic grammar, this research embarks on Foucault's idea of subjectivity which governs the formation of discourse, by examining the linguistic structure of the clause in the press representations. The analysis reveals that events and people from the crisis can be configured in different ways in the clausal structure, which is, to a certain degree, triggered by the subjectivity of newspapers. La Libération offers a socialist view of the crisis through its discursive constructions which are more inclusive of the local people and by showing Temaru's rise to power in an optimistic manner. As for the conservative newspaper le Figaro, power hierarchies can be observed in some representations while certain individuals' responsibilities are hidden in the clausal structure. Even le Monde, which claims to maintain a neutral ground, exposes its intellectual and critical conceits in the construction of clauses which represent Tahiti's recent political crisis.