Exploring Identity Representation Strategies in English and Persian Political Discourse

Document Type: Original Article


Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran



Previous research on identity construction in political and media discourse is mostly limited to the study of strategies employed by politicians in their spoken discourse. However, different political agents, by way of assuming different degrees of power, may employ different strategies for the construction of others' identities. This study is set to investigate how political agents differ in the strategies they employ for the linguistic construction of identities across cultures: English and Persian. A total number of 66 English and Persian texts, produced by three groups of political agents (actors, reporters & researchers) were randomly selected. Then, following Wodak's (2001, 2007, 2009) critical discourse analysis approach, they were analyzed in terms of the quality and quantity of the strategies proposed for positive/negative representation of others. The results of the critical discourse analyses as well as Chi-square tests of statistical significance indicated qualitative/quantitative differences in the type and frequency of discourse strategies employed by English and Persian agents. Persian agents tended to be more indirect, covert and anonymous than their English counterparts by using more implicit strategies for other representation. The implications are drawn for material development and designing teaching programs to raise advanced level students' awareness of the relevant discourse strategies for other representation.