Critical Analysis of the Representations Ofhiv/Aids in Ethiopia’s Policy Documents and Newspapers

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Addis Ababa University


HIV/AIDS is one of the worst epidemics in modern history. The language used to portray this pandemic in policies and mass media has been an object of study in many countries. However, in Ethiopia, the language used to represent this epidemic in policies and newspapers has not been thoroughly investigated using systematic methods of linguistic analysis. The current study aims to partially bridge this gap by deconstructing the representations of this pandemic in Ethiopia’s policy documents and government run newspapers using the interdisciplinary approach of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). The current study drew from a number of CDA frameworks. However the major analytic method used in the study are Van Dijk’s (1988, 1998 and 2001) ideological square and sociocognitive frameworks which were used for expounding the socio-political implications of the discourses. Thus, after the internal structure of the texts were described drawing on theories of Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), the underlying meanings conveyed by such texts were explicated in terms of the wider contexts in light of social theories. Basically the current study asked and answered the question: ‘How was HIV/AIDS represented in Ethiopia’s HIV/AIDS policy documents and newspapers?’ Specifically, the study addressed questions like: ‘How were identities produced in HIV/AIDS related policy documents and newspapers, how were issued aligned, what sorts of treatments were sought, what metaphors were used to represent the pandemic and those afflicted?’



hiv/Aids in Ethiopia’s Policy Documents