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“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Sends its Condolences”: Rhetorical criticism of Saudi Arabian governmental authorities’ social media responses to foreign acts of terror and violence
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Asian, Middle Eastern and Turkish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5657-6493
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This study aims at exploring the rhetorical processes underpinning condolences, as expressed by Saudi Arabian governmental authorities on social media, with a focus on Twitter. Taking its starting point in January of 2015, when the Charlie Hebdo shooting took place in Paris, this study looks comparatively at several acts of terror in order to answer whether these different attacks elicited different responses, and if so, what knowledge can be drawn from this conclusion. Furthermore, this study examines the role of social media in public diplomacy, and in the production and distribution of political discourse, especially as it relates to statements of condolences and expressions of solidarity mediated through twitter. In order to explore this, rhetorical criticism (Mral 2008; Foss 2004; Peirce 2003) is combined with pentadic criticism (Burke 1945) and performativity theory (Rosenberg 2018; Zivi 2016; Gregson and Rose 2014) to form the methodology. A key theoretical concept in this study is “grievability,” which aims at understanding why some deaths are grieved and others are not (Butler 2009; Butler 2004; Butler 2003). As this study shows, mourning itself can be understood as rhetoric, serving political and diplomatic functions rather than being an expression of actual, sincere solidarity or grief. This study also shows that tweets from official government sources can be seen as a performance of public diplomacy, and as performative of the official’s own position. Lastly, it is argued that offering condolences are a way to purchase “humanitarian capital,” which is becoming increasingly important in global politics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 91
Series
Noha Mellor
Keywords [en]
Saudi Arabia, rhetorical criticism, social media, terrorism, Twitter, political communication
National Category
Media Studies Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Cultural Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-174464OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-174464DiVA, id: diva2:1358461
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Available from: 2020-01-17 Created: 2019-10-07 Last updated: 2020-01-17Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
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More languages
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  • asciidoc
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