Academic journal article NAWA: Journal of Language and Communication

3. A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Impact of Operation Murambatsvina (Operation Drive out Filth) on People Living with HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe as Reflected by Newspaper Reports

Academic journal article NAWA: Journal of Language and Communication

3. A Critical Discourse Analysis of the Impact of Operation Murambatsvina (Operation Drive out Filth) on People Living with HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe as Reflected by Newspaper Reports

Article excerpt

Introduction

This paper interrogates newspaper discourse on the effect that OM has had on people living with HIV and AIDS in Zimbabwe. This government operation occurred in May 2005. What makes it significant is that it was conducted during the winter season thereby exposing victims to vicissitudes of homelessness and the cold weather as they lacked alternative accommodation and means of continuing with their livelihoods. The paper observes that, regarding the operation, there exists polarization in the reportage by government newspapers (The Chronicle, The Herald and The Sunday Mail) and private newspapers (The Daily Mirror, The Financial Gazette, The Standard and The Zimbabwe Independent). Newspaper discourse reflects a wide use of linguistic and discursive strategies aimed at either concealing and, or, revealing how the said operation impacted on people living with HIV and AIDS. The study however, notes that such well calculated use of linguistic and discursive strategies were for ideological reasons. Therefore, the study unpacks the linguistic and discursive strategies used and uncovers how the operation affected people living with HIV and AIDS. Consequently, the study explicates how proper planning and empathy would alleviate the plight of people living with HIV and AIDS were such major operations embarked upon in future.

Theoretical framework: Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA)

The study engages CDA to unpack the reportage of OM by selected newspapers in Zimbabwe. CDA is drawn from the meta--theory of critical realism (Berko, 2007). It stems from problems of society (Chouliaraki and Fairclough, (1999) in Cavalrho (2008). Its origin is associated with enlightenment philosophers. They viewed rhetoric as the art of 'speaking well' (bene dicendi) (van Dijk, 2011: 1). CDA incorporates "social--theoretical insights into discourse analysis and advocates social commitment and interventionism in research" (Blommaert and Bulcaen, 2000: 447). The main reason for my use of CDA in this study is that it focuses on "dimensions of power abuse and the injustice and inequality that results from it" (van Dijk, 1993: 252). It is therefore important to use CDA in this analysis as the study focuses on discourse structures that influence cognition. This means the study is seized with issues of text production and reception. As argued by Janks (2003) the concerns that will be investigated through the use of CDA are:

** How is the text positioned or positioning?

** Whose interests are served by this positioning?

** Whose interests are negated?

** What are the consequences of this positioning?

** Why did they use this language?; How else could this have been said?; What is missing?; and, What thinking patterns does it cause?

This means CDA enabled this study to investigate the following:

** How did Zimbabwe newspapers portray the impact of OM on HIV and AIDS victims?

** Did OM relate to the Zimbabwe National Policy on HIV and AIDS of 1999?

   This analysis enables the study to expose linguistic and discursive
   strategies used in the discourse, lay bare the hidden motivations
   for such portrayal and, chart a way forward regarding both
   reporting patterns and the need for people--driven implementations
   of national programmes.

Data collection methods

In this study library research and internet searches were used to gain insights into various theoretical positions as well as to source information from online media that covered OM. More than thirty newspaper articles were gathered using purposive sampling and analysed. Additionally, personal experience, the social network--approach (Tagilamonte, 2006), the ethnographic methods (Drew and Heritage, 1992, Talavera, 2002, Angalleli, 2004, Anafara and Mertz, 2006) were invoked to establish the relationship between newspaper reports and reality. The use of personal experience and social networks proved crucial in this study as it unveiled critical insights that aided CDA in unravelling newspaper discourse in relation to how the operation impacted on people living with HIV and AIDS. …

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