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A critical discourse analysis of social change in women-related posts on Saudi English-language blogs posted between 2009 and 2012

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Shrouq Al Maghlouth
Publication date2017
Number of pages352
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This thesis examines the discourse on social change in women-related posts on Saudi
English-Language blogs written between 2009 and 2012. These posts discuss a number of
reformative measures that took place during that period in order to allow for greater
women’s empowerment in Saudi Arabia. The thesis consists of nine chapters. Chapter
One introduces briefly the thesis while Chapter Two offers a relevant literature review
relating to critical discourse analysis, feminism, social change and online/digital
discourse. This is conducted with special focus on the socio-cognitive approach as the
main framework adopted in the analysis and its emphasis on cognitive context models
and their role in the change/ status quo struggle. Chapter Three lays the theoretical
foundation upon which this thesis is based as well as the methodology it adopts in data
selection, collection and analysis. For data analysis, a sample of forty posts has been
collected on five different topics: women in politics, women and the driving ban, women
in non-traditional work environments, women and sports, and gender segregation. Using a
three-levelled analysis, the posts at hand have been examined from textual, intertextual
and socio-cognitive perspectives. The textual level consists of four linguistic parameters:
social actor representation, process type analysis, evaluation and metaphor. The
intertextual levels target intertextuality and interdiscursivity while the socio-cognitive
level ties in all these descriptive findings to offer interpretations and insight into relevant
mental representations. In light of this, Chapters Four to Eight examine the posts
thematically and based on the five topics identified earlier. Finally, Chapter Nine offers
conclusive cumulative evidence and a discussion of the overall findings. The findings
show a clash between the use of grammar and lexis, with social actor representation and
process types often suggesting different mental representations from those conveyed
through evaluation and metaphor. Women are, to a large extent, represented as lacking in
agency and power despite the fact that their relatively restrictive status quo is evaluated as
negative and change is conceptualised as positively evaluated metaphorical movement
and liberation. In fact, this detailed analysis reveals that representing the clash between supporters of change and their opponents appears to be the central focus, even at the
expense of women and their representation in discourse.