Communicating Ideologies: An Examination of Web Definitional Examples

Mesfin Awoke Bekalu 1 *

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This study reports an analysis of definitional examples of country names posted on the World Wide Web (WWW). It aims at shedding some critical light on a sample of 33 definitional examples with an expectation of some sort of patterns which are indicative of ideological processes. The sample definitional examples were compared and conceptually labelled as positive, negative, and neutral within discourse analytic and Grounded Theoretic frameworks. Patterns were discerned and three categories identified: category I (European countries), category II (Asian, Russian, Middle & Far East nations), and category III (African nations). For the sake of objectifying the analysis, a list containing country names along with definitional examples was administered to 147 randomly selected university students to critically look at each definitional example and indicate the kind of image (positive, negative or neutral) the examples evoke in them. The analysis indicated that the definitional examples have the potential to communicate ideologies beyond exemplifying countries. Congruent to the analysis, images evoked in the respondents shifted from positivity to negativity as we moved from category I to category III countries. The study has brought further evidence for the claims of several studies that Africa is often negatively portrayed by Western Media.


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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp. 47-65

Published Online: 24 Jan 2012

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