Construction of the dichotomy of Us versus Them in the news reports on the Ukrainian revolution Euromaidan 2014
: corpus-driven discourse analysis of the American, Russian and Ukrainian media

  • Svitlana Tubaltseva

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The Us versus Them dichotomy is central to discourses of conflict or revolution. There are many areas of research which partially touch on this topic, however, there is a lack of research on how Us and Them are constructed in discourse, especially in relation to evaluative devices. Therefore, this thesis adopts an interdisciplinary method which combines both extra-linguistic (postcolonialism and antagonistic discourse model) and linguistic approaches (CADS and Appraisal theory). For this purpose, the thesis focuses on the 2014 Euromaidan Ukrainian revolution and its media representation in three national contexts: the USA, Russia, and Ukraine. The analysis draws on the CADS approach, which includes a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. The research primarily focuses on the role of moral evaluation (category of Judgement) in the dichotomy construction and proposes modifications to the existing taxonomy and thereby contributes to detecting covert evaluation assisting in the solidification of Us and Them identities. Discourse analysis makes a novel contribution by revealing a more complex, multifaceted structure of the dichotomy where the same polarisation can operate on different levels (political, national and international). Despite significant divergence in attitudes towards the key Euromaidan participants and different ideological stances, this phenomenon is observed across all six newspapers. The analysis shows that the newspapers utilised the same range of ideological and discursive tools in construction of Us and Them identities. The thesis also demonstrates that the interdisciplinary approach offers deep insights into how the Us versus Them dichotomy is constructed and realised in discourse. In addition to its original findings, the thesis also forges a pathway for further theoretical and empirical research on how evaluative tools contribute to the construction of the Us versus Them dichotomy in other mediated conflict contexts.
    Date of Award14 Jun 2022
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Roehampton
    SponsorsRoehampton University Sacred Heart Studentship (RUSH)
    SupervisorSimon Bayly (Director of Studies), Anita Biressi (Co-Supervisor), Kat Gupta (Co-Supervisor) & Annabelle Mooney (Co-Supervisor)


    • Critical discourse analysis
    • corpus linguistics
    • conflict media
    • Appraisal

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