Revealing linguistic power

discourse practice toward ''Youth'' in Japanese and Thai newspapers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The discourse of mass media is considered as a site of power, a site of social struggle where language is apparently transparent. Media institutions, whether intentionally or not, tend to naturalize things and try to place themselves in the position of objective agents who know “the facts” and have a legitimate right to report them to the public. In recent studies of sociopolitical discourse analysis where language, ideologies, and power relations have been examined, “youth” has been viewed as a powerless and disregarded social group. This article takes a critical approach to discourse by extensively employing Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis and van Dijk’s sociocognitive approach as a theoretical framework to explore the relationships between language use (text), discourse practice and the sociocultural practice of news reports on youth in Japanese and Thai newspapers. It is geared to provide an explanation of how reports on youth are produced, how they are interpreted, and how they reflect and manipulate attitudes toward youth in Japanese and Thai society as a system of social dominance. It can be remarked that the Japanese media conceptualize youth as “naive” and accordingly they tend to utilize a variety of discursive strategies in order to protect youth from the state of social impurity by shifting the main focus from youth crime to other issues such as parenting, school education, decisions handed down by courts, and social reform. In sharp contrast, news reports on youth in Thai newspapers have caused an amount of the negative view of youth by having a strong connection with social legacy of feudalism, where age relationships have long been constructed in such a way as to allow adults to deny the voice of and exercise control over youth.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-240
Number of pages16
JournalJapan review
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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