Language and civilian deaths: denying responsibility for casualties in the Gaza conflict 2014

Finlay, W. M. L. (2018) Language and civilian deaths: denying responsibility for casualties in the Gaza conflict 2014. Political Psychology, 39 (3). pp. 595-609. ISSN 1467-9221

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The UNHCR estimated that 1,462 civilians were killed in Gaza and six civilians were killed in Israel during the conflict of 2104. This article uses Discursive Psychology to examine how Israeli spokespeople described the conflict, and Israel’s actions, in ways that denied responsibility for civilian deaths. They did this using a number of discursive strategies. These included: a) using passive and noun constructions which minimized reference to civilian deaths and erased Israeli involvement in those deaths; b) repeatedly naming and providing details of Hamas weapons and attacks while avoiding reference to Israeli weapons and violence; c) presenting Israel as only trying to avoid civilian deaths and d) describing Hamas as responsible for all deaths. These types of linguistic constructions allow governments and potential supporters to avoid acknowledging the consequences of their military actions, and is one way that the virtuous nature of the ingroup is reinforced in political discourse.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: discursive psychology, war, civilian casualties, middle east, blame, social identity
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Dr W.M.L. Finlay
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2017 14:10
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2022 15:43

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