An analysis of the representation of animals in World Wide Fund discourse

Ellyat, Lauren (2011) An analysis of the representation of animals in World Wide Fund discourse. Masters thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Our relationship with animals is one that is often ambiguous. Media representation of animals is therefore often wrought with mixed messages or confused ideologies. Charities such as the World Wide Fund for Nature produce discourse that both reflects and shapes common perception of the natural world. This dialectical relationship often results in employing a few iconic species in order to draw attention to broader ecological issues. However, the focus on 'popular' animal species could potentially perpetuate damaging ideological assumptions about the intricate ecological systems that make up this world. It is the objective of this thesis to uncover the unintentional 'hidden messages' that reside behind WWF media discourse. This is done through a select sample of data from both print advertisements campaigns and the WWF UK website and takes into account both the commercial and educational goals of the company. This thesis also takes into account issues of anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism. Critical Discourse Analysis provides an interdisciplinary approach that allows for a detailed analysis of the data and provides an insight into the discourses examined. The epistemological assumption of this work is founded in postmodemism and therefore rejects the notion of objective or unitary truth. This work therefore presents a critical investigation and analysis of the data combined with the necessarily subjective interpretation of the researcher. The conclusion of this work is that whilst the data analysed is consistent with its aims (be they commercial or educational) the focus on a few key species throughout the texts distracts from broader ecological issues. The work also takes a constructivist stance and suggests that anthropocentrism is, to some extent, an inevitable aspect of 'being human' but anthropocentric assumptions must be continually questioned in order to provide a balanced perception of the surrounding world.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
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Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 19 Apr 2022 10:54
Last Modified: 19 Apr 2022 10:57

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