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National Face and Facework in China’s Foreign Policy

A Corpus-Assisted Case Study of Chinese Foreign Affairs Press Conferences

Maria Marakhovskaiia and Alan Partington

The Goffman (1967) and Brown and Levinson (1987) socio-pragmatic theory of face was first devised through speculating on and observing the interaction of individuals. Later research has looked at the phenomenon of group-face (e.g. Spencer-Oatey 2007). In this research we examine how face and facework theory can also be applied to communications made by state actors to the outside world, in other words, whether facework theories could also be applied to national face. To this end we compiled a corpus of all press conferences held by the Ministry of Chinese Foreign Affairs in 2016 and subjected it to quantitative and qualitative analysis, as well as comparative analysis with US White House press briefings. Chinese government statements were felt to be a promising genre partly because of the particularly intricate relations China has with its geographically close partners and neighbours and partly because of the supposed special importance accorded to face in Chinese culture (Kádár et al 2013; Chen and Hwang 2016). The techniques we employ in the analyses derive from the field of corpus-assisted discourse studies (Partington, Duguid and Taylor 2013).

Elsa Lafaye de Micheaux

The Chinese investments in South-East Asia can be considered as a vector of the People’s Republic of China’s assertion in the region. They are bound by political agreements and promote geopolitical as well as economic strategies. The present monographic study of the China’s contemporary investments in Malaysia under Najib Rakak’s prime ministership (2009–2018) underlines their particular character when compared to the previous investors: very concentrated and high amounts; located in the margins (East Coast of the Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia on Borneo). Breaking with the former logics of traditional investors (European, US then Japanese) who concentrated on the West Coast of the Peninsular Malaysia, the new sectors for Chinese investments in Malaysia are mainly in the metal industry, transport infrastructures and ports, as well as real estate. Clearly exhibiting a new pattern in terms of content, China’s investments in Malaysia could be considered as specific in motive and modus operandi. The focus on two case studies of industrial investments, namely the development of the Kuantan Industrial Park and Port (Pahang) and the exploitation of the Sokor Gold Mine (Kelantan) contribute modestly to the characterization of its original pattern and rationale from a political-economy perspective. It results in a re-contextualization of the industrial investments within in the diplomatic and political Malaysia-China bilateral relationship.

Pak Nung Wong

Why Iran Has Not Developed the Nuclear Weapons

Understanding the Role of Religion in Nuclear Policies of Iran

Modongal Shameer and Seyed Hossein Mousavian

Iran is a country with technological capability for nuclear fuel cycle. Mainstream theories of nuclear proliferation predict nuclear weaponization of Iran considering its structural, domestic and individual motivations. However, one fact remains that Iran has not yet developed its nuclear weapons. Officially, Iran argues that the Weapons of Mass Destruction, including nuclear weapons, are against principles of Islam. Even though the mainstream theories are sceptical about the influence of religion in security policies of the state, this paper concludes that religious principles have decisive role in nuclear decision-making of Iran. Iran would have gone for nuclear weapons unless it is constrained by religion.

Sangeeta Bagga-Gupta and Aprameya Rao

Drawing inspiration from two theoretical framings: a sociocultural perspective on languaging and writings on a decolonial-turn, the study presented in this paper center-stages issues related to the need to engage analytically with, (i) social actions of political parties, citizens, including netizens in Web 2.0 settings, and (ii) alternative epistemologies where issues from the global-South are privileged. A central concern of decolonial linguistics enables asking new questions that destabilize established Eurocentric models of language. Thus, peripherally framed sociocultural premises contribute to critical social-humanistic perspectives that allow for (potentially) unpacking northern hegemonies and contributing to global-North challenges. Building upon an analytical design, this paper presents cross-disciplinary analysis of languaging in contemporary political mediascapes of the nation-states of India and Sweden. Bringing to bear that language does not only mirror reality, but is also a constitutive culturaltool, the study aims to highlight the contrastive ways in which the dominating political parties and citizens engage with languaging (i.e. the deployment of semiotic resources across language-varieties, modalities, including imagery). The study unpacks similarities and differences in salient issues related to the nature of social media and language and identity-positions in political discourse, highlighting dimensions of the participants voices. Thus, patterns that emerge from the contrastive analysis of political discourses, including the features of social media are highlighted and discussed. Data includes social media pages of two political parties from both the nation-states across a 6-week period at the end of 2017.

Md. Jahangir Alam

This paper explores changing land values in the process of rapid urbanization in Dhaka, Bangladesh and its implications for urban land management and administration in the megacity. The study reveals that substantial increase in land values have resulted in land speculation among real estate and individual developers. Land values have increased by an average of 22.26% per year between 1990 and 2000, while the period spanning from 2000 to 2010 saw about 74% of yearly increase in Dhaka. The study revealed that due to increasing land values, prospective real estate developers are tempted to build housing in restricted areas defined by Dhaka metropolitan development plan such as flood zones, lakes, canals, ditch and drainage channels etc. The paper proposes a re-look at the causes of increase in land values and land speculations and the resulting environmental damage pointed out in this study as part of a broad urban land and environmental management strategy in rapidly growing megacities.

Pak Nung Wong

To explore a new de-colonial option for the global future, this article grapples with three movements of our time: the ‘Open Science’ movement, the 1955 African-Asian conference and the Non-Aligned Movement, and the post-exilic prophetic movement of the Abrahamic religions. It explores an alternative intellectual project which will facilitate new research agendas and publication directions that will simultaneously speaks to the three wider audience of the present-day world: the sciences, the Global South and the Abrahamic religious traditions. My objective is to delineate a theological, geopolitical and anthropological exposition as an ethical anchorage for the present Bandung project to steadily move towards the Open Science era. I will argue for Ezekiel’s prophetic model as a plausible de-colonial option for crafting the transnational open knowledge space.