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From pan-Arab nationalism to political Islam: A Ricoeurian reading of Al Jazeera’s coverage of the ‘6th Arab-Israeli war’ in Lebanon

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Set within the wider framework of exploring the relationship between mediated representations of war and public understanding and perception of conflict in the Arab region, this article focuses on Al Jazeera’s coverage of the July war in Lebanon. From a broad theoretical viewpoint, it attempts to deconstruct the ‘ideological model of war’ as depicted by Al-Jazeera through its representation of the 2006 conflict between Hezbollah and Israel. When Al-Jazeera framed it as the ‘6th war’, it added Israel’s attack on Lebanon to the series of five episodes of the Arab–Israeli conflict; this war follows the 1948 Palestine War, the Suez War in 1956, the June War of 1967 and the October 1973 War. Stemming from the work of Paul Ricoeur in Time and Narrative (1984), this article suggests a reading of Al-Jazeera’s narrative of the war in three times: the first mediated configurations, the media emplotment, and the re-activation by the channel’s audience. While it situates the discourse of Al Jazeera in relation to the Voice of the Arabs radio, which advocated in the 1950s for a nationalist, resistant and anti-colonial identity, this article also explores the dual nature of Al Jazeera between pan-Arabism and political Islam.
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Keywords: Al Jazeera; Arab-Israeli conflict; Hezbollah; July war; Paul Ricoeur; media representation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Birmingham City University

Publication date: April 1, 2016

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  • The emergence of satellite TV, the internet and digital technology have dramatically changed the way audiences receive information and interact with the media. The sudden success of Al-Jazeera and other Arab broadcasters have altered the way the Arab world narrates itself and reports news from the region to the rest of the world. The journal aims to lead the debate about these emerging rapid changes in media and society in Arab and Muslim parts of the world.
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