Occupy Central and the rise of discursive illusions: A discourse analytical study

Aditi Bhatia

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Drawing on Hong Kong's "Occupy Central" movement, this paper explores the construction of discursive illusions in both China Daily and South China Morning Post's (SCMP) contrasting coverage of the event. More specifically, the paper investigates how a multi-perspective analytical approach can enable a deeper study of how and to what extent abstract constructs with significant social implications are discursively formed. In order to do so, the framework draws on a three-pronged approach: historicity (habitus as key to the creation of discursive illusions, dealing with the change of perceptions over time); linguistic and semiotic action (subjective conceptualizations of the world to give rise to linguistic and semiotic actions, often through metaphorical and dominant rhetoric); and the degree of social impact (as language and actions engender many categories and stereotypes). The analysis reveals that data from both newspapers draws on similar linguistic and rhetorical tools, including temporal referencing, metaphor, category-pairings, and recontextualization in the discursive construction of a "double contrastive identity" (Leudar et al. [2004], On membership categorization: "Us", "them" and "doing violence" in political discourse. Discourse & Society 15(2/3). 243-266.) of the movement and its participants in diametrically opposed ways around themes such as law versus lawlessness, victim versus aggressor, etc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-682
Number of pages22
JournalText and Talk
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • categorization
  • Discourse analysis
  • metaphor
  • multi-perspective analysis
  • Occupy Central movement
  • structure immediacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Philosophy
  • Linguistics and Language


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