Malala Yousafzai in the British Media

Essay, 2018

8 Pages, Grade: a


Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. Article`s overview

3. Theory

4. Methodology

5. Analysis

6. Critics

7. Conclusion

8. References

1. Introduction

This paper is an analyse of the research conducted by Rosie Walters, PhD in Politics at the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies of Bristol.

Walters wants to understand how the case of the Pakistani journalist Malala Yousafzai has been presented in the UK newspapers. By using a discursive analysis, Walter finds out an emancipatory discourse about the young activist. Walters` aim is here to understand if this occidental view can tell us something about the West itself. Outcome of this research is an unequal relationship between the United Kingdom and Pakistan, it is a gendered and orientalistic discourse which shows interesting (expected or not) “prejudice” of the British media discourse.

Aim of this paper is to analyse the methodologies and theories Walters uses and how these help the author to explain the outcome of the research.

2. Overview on Article

The protagonist of Walters` research is the Pakistani activist Malala Zousafzai.

It is important to have a background knowledge about the topic. Malala Yousafzai is a young feminist activist fighting for the rights of education of girls in Pakistan. She was born in 1997 in Mingora, the largest city in the Swat District of Pakistan. (Doeden, 2015: 9).

After the USA invaded Afghanistan, after the 11th September 2001, the Taliban fled to remote parts of Pakistan, like the Swat District where they found support in the population. (Doeden, 2015: 14) But Malala was only interested in going to school and actively promote female right to education. Malala was shot when she was only 14 years old by a group of Taliban which use to claim to be strongly against female education. Malala survived the bullet wound; she was medically treated in Pakistan and then transferred to an English hospital.

Walters wants to analyse the discourse about Malala used in British journalist articles and focusses on the question about how the English media described her. Is there a predominant occidental view and prejudice against the orient?

She analyses the content from a poststructuralist, feminist and postcolonial approach that should explain us how the West sees the East (orientalism discourse) and at the same time tells us more about the west itself.

In order to analyse the articles Waters decides to use Doty`s concepts of predication, presupposition and subject positioning. The key approach she uses here in order to connect all her studies is intertextuality.

3. Theory

As mentioned above, Walters analyses this topic from a poststructuralist, feminist and postcolonial approach. She wants to understand the portrayal about the East and find out if they can tell us something about the West. Walters mentions the colonial approach, sometimes this can perpetuate the portrayal of former colonial people as static while the feminist approach reproduces axioms of imperialisms, with its assumes that they (the West) have to rescue the third world women. But Walters` aim is to understand which image these representations can give us about the West.

The poststructuralist approach consists “of a loose grammar of concepts and logics that can inform the exploration of problematized empirical phenomena” and it embraces a large mix of methodological techniques and strategies. (Howarth, 2013: 269) It includes discourse analysis, which is used in this research. According to Walters the premises of the poststructuralist analyses is the assumption that racism and sexisms are discursive. Discourse Analysis is an approach to language that can be applied to several text forms, like in this case, articles. This kind of analysis implies philosophical works, like the one from Foucault (1926-1984). For Foucault the discourse is a term which explains how several linguistic categories are related to an object, and how the way the discourse depicting this object influences the way we think about it. (Bryman, 2016: 531)

Feminism in political science analyses the political relationship between gender and power. (Randall, 2002: 109) Since the topic of this research can be considered as highly gender oriented Walters decides to get help from this approach. The combination of feminist, poststructural and postcolonial analysis shows that racist and gendered discourse is the result of social relations within the UK and within international politics, but at the same time this kind of discourse influences these relations.

Qualitative research is an approach to research which focuses on words rather than numbers. (Bryman, 2016: 375) The term qualitative methods refers to several research techniques which include observation, intensive individual interviews. (Devine, 2002: 197) The research Walters presents is mainly qualitative, even if she uses some statistical data.

4. Methodology

In this paragraph, we will discuss the methodology used by Walters.

Walters gives an outline about her research design before structuring it, she uses the three concepts of the researcher Roxanne Doty`s work on discursive foreign policy analysis, which are: predication, presupposition and subject positioning. Finally, she discusses the outcome. In order to connect her research questions with the results she uses Intertextuality, key to this approach, which tries to understand the logic of the text. Following this approach, the expected result should be the outcome of a dominant discourse, which will tell us how the British newspapers present Malala.


[1] Madrasas are the places where Taliban are suspected to get their education.

Excerpt out of 8 pages


Malala Yousafzai in the British Media
University of Malta
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ISBN (eBook)
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malala, yousafzai, british, media
Quote paper
B.A. Integrated European Studies Amelia Martha Matera (Author), 2018, Malala Yousafzai in the British Media, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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