Dictators, democrats, and good international citizens: state identity in British online digital news reporting of the 2011 Libyan civil war

Jester, Natalie ORCID: 0000-0002-7995-3028 (2022) Dictators, democrats, and good international citizens: state identity in British online digital news reporting of the 2011 Libyan civil war. In: Political Studies Association 2022 conference, 11-13 April 2022, York. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

British online news representations of the 2011 Libyan civil war are an interesting site for the re/production of state identity, for both Libya and Britain. In order to make this case, and drawing primarily upon the work of David Campbell and Roxane Doty, this presentation focuses on the threat of government violence in response to pro-democracy protests around early 2011. Within this reporting, the Libyan people are constructed as aspiring democrats, ultimately unable to “do” democracy correctly, and posing a threat to regional order. Demands for democracy challenged Muammar Gaddafi, who led the country for 42 years following a coup. He and the state apparatus supporting him are represented as unstable, violent and - perhaps unsurprisingly - anti-democracy. In contrast, and more interestingly, this makes possible the positioning of the British state as the good international citizen. This subject position is presupposed to have authority to speak on this issue and takes an active role in condemning violence on the world stage. The representations contained within these online news platforms are important because they make possible (or not) a particular range of foreign policy responses. Overall, Britain is part of a binary opposition whereby it is represented as a beacon of global democracy. This legitimises foreign military intervention for the purpose of promoting democracy abroad because Britain is presupposed to have a "leadership" role in this area.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Natural & Social Sciences > Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Society and Learning
Depositing User: Nat Jester
Date Deposited: 09 May 2022 11:22
Last Modified: 09 May 2022 11:22
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/10935

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