Discourse Analysis and Conflict Studies

Abstract

This study attempts to show the beneficial synergy between language and conflict studies and how conflict may be researched using methods in linguistics (i.e., discourse analysis). This I began to do in my article published in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism. My research interest in discourse analysis and conflict/security studies stems from the prevalence of security challenges in Nigeria; first with the rise of armed ethnic militias in the Niger Delta region in 2004. While negotiation with the militia groups was still ongoing, the Boko Haram insurgency began in 2009 and became a serious national and international security concern. I was then at the University of Freiburg in Germany utilizing the Alexander von Humboldt post-doctoral research fellowship, studying the role of local and international media in the Delta crisis. In 2012, I received further funding to study the activities of the Boko Haram terrorism, especially on the Internet and how terrorist groups utilized digital platforms for the purpose of youth radicalization. This study resulted in the publication: “The discourse of terror threats: Assessing online written threats by Nigerian terrorist groups.” The methods I applied here are of interest to this research method case. First, I will give a background of the Nigerian terrorist groups discussed in the publication. Then, I will introduce my research methods, namely qualitative critical discourse analysis, with insights from pragmatics (in particular, speech acts). This has been of special interest to students and scholars in linguistics, psychology, (new) media and communication, sociology, and political science.

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