An analysis of professional discourses and gendered identities in Malaysian media

Yoong, Melissa (2018) An analysis of professional discourses and gendered identities in Malaysian media. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis analyses the professional discourses and gendered identities of working women manifested within Malaysian media targeting a female audience. It also interrogates the ideologies of gender that inform, and are espoused by, these discourses and identities. Through the integration of feminist critical discourse analysis and feminist conversation analysis, it examines career advice texts and interviews with high-achieving women produced over a 12-month period in three print and broadcast media: Her World, a Malaysian magazine; Clove, a Sunday pullout in a mainstream newspaper; and Capital FM, a commercial radio station. The analysis of discourses expressed in the conception of women’s professional selves and occupational lives fills a discernible gap in gender and language research, as previous empirical work on media directed at women has largely emphasised on beauty, relationships, sex, and parenting.

By interrogating which professional discourses find expression across the different media genres, this thesis makes another key contribution to the field, given that earlier studies often focused on a single media source. In this research, the similarities and variances in the discourses and identities produced by the three media outlets are related to the tensions and relations between wider sociocultural norms, media commodification, institutional roles, and women’s agency. While the radio has been relatively under-valued in gender and language research, in this study, we shall see the potential it holds for disrupting established hegemonic discourses, which is significant in a media landscape where the production of oppositional and alternative discourses is rare.

The analysis identifies a range of mutually reinforcing and oppositional professional discourses that work together to articulate paradoxical female subjectivities that are empowered yet deficient, and strongly associated with stereotypical femininity and motherhood. These discourses and subjectivities mobilise postfeminist and neoliberal ideas in service of the status quo, as the resignification of freedom, choice and agency depoliticises women’s work issues in the media. With the widespread proliferation of neoliberalism and postfeminism, this thesis makes a timely contribution to understanding their effects on discourses on women and work in an under-researched socio-cultural context.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Mullany, L.J.
Jones, L
Keywords: Discourses; Identities; Gender; Postfeminism; Neoliberalism; Malaysia; Work
Subjects: P Language and literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English
Item ID: 52275
Depositing User: Yoong, Melissa
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2018 13:55
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2020 04:30

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