Hamas' Press releases: a Critical Discourse Analysis Study

2017 edition

Pamela Murgia

Hamas, acronym for “Islamic Resistance Movement”, was born in 1987 on the wake of the first Intifada from a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood with the aim to oppose active resistance to Israel.

Hamas won the legislative elections in 2006 and was entitled the rule of Gaza. This was a significant change in the Movement’s position towards the elective system of the Palestinian Authority, established in 1993 after the Oslo Accords, which was disregarded as a failure and resulted in the movement’s refusal to take part in the first elections.

According to Hroub (2006a), the study of the Movement’s discourse is useful in understanding the its political shift.

This research proposal aims at researching Hamas’ press releases as a segment of their general discourse in order to make this transition emerge, focusing on strategies relevant to understanding political behaviour and power management, such as representation (of self and others) and legitimation.

The analysis will be oriented by the Critical Discourse studies approach, with a special focus on socio-cognitive approach (van Dijk). It will be of qualitative kind, and will collect releases in a diachronical perspective (from the foundation of the movement up to year 2016) in order to understand:

  1. how a significant shift in power position can affect discourse
  2. whether this is related to a specific textual genres
  3. which discoursive strategies emerge as dominant in this context.