Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

National identity and "Muslim immigrant" representation in the British and Danish press, 2005-2015.

Lawrie, Michelle


Michelle Lawrie


Robert Halsall


This thesis examines, through a diachronic analysis, how the British and Danish press utilise national identity when constructing a representation of Muslims. Key cluster events are examined to identify media discourses over a ten-year time period between 2005 and 2015. Textual analysis in the form of qualitative content analysis and critical discourse analysis of selected texts is performed on 101 newspaper articles. The research uses Fairclough's three-dimensional framework, and links the analysis and discussion to wider theories of power, media use of Muslim voices and national identity. The use of a research diary is utilised to highlight the researcher's engagement with the analysis. The findings reveal an increasing focus on freedom of speech and national identity 'values' of each country with more left-leaning newspapers shifting to the right of the political spectrum and increasingly employing right-wing populist discourses. This coincides with the changing contextual environment evident throughout Europe of the rise of right-wing populism and far-right groups. Muslims are consistently represented as 'Muslim immigrants' in the press for both countries, despite in many cases being native 'Brits' or 'Danes'. Furthermore, the findings reveal and build on Marianne Gullestad's existing theory of the Star System, focusing on how the media utilise Muslim voices critical of 'the Muslim community' to legitimise negative representations and discourses on Muslims. The study contributes to existing literature on mediation of Muslim representation and offers areas of consideration for future research design, in the form of a research diary, when conduction media representation theory. Additional recommendations include the implementation of the developed Star System theory to analyse how select 'Muslim voices' are used in the media to normalise negative discourses of Muslims. Furthermore, following image analysis of selected texts, the thesis recommends that further research should be conducted, focusing on the use of images in the press when representing Muslims.


LAWRIE, M. 2019. National identity and "Muslim immigrant" representation in the British and Danish press, 2005-2015. Robert Gordon University [online], PhD thesis. Available from:

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jan 27, 2020
Publicly Available Date Jan 27, 2020
Keywords Muslims in the press; Muslims in popular media; Muslims in popular culture; Cultural representations; Star system theory; Content analysis; Mass media; Press
Public URL
Award Date Sep 30, 2019


You might also like

Downloadable Citations