Constructing the 2019 UK/Saudi Arabia relationship in the British online press: the case of arms sales

Jester, Natalie ORCID: 0000-0002-7995-3028 (2019) Constructing the 2019 UK/Saudi Arabia relationship in the British online press: the case of arms sales. In: Political Studies Association Media and Politics conference, 16-17th December 2019, University of Leeds. (Unpublished)

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Since 2015 a coalition of countries from the Middle East and Africa has been fighting in Yemen when the pro-Saudi governor Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi was removed from power. The response from the Saudi-led coalition was to deploy airstrikes over the country and many civilians were killed; more recently, the fighting between these two factions has facilitated famine in the region, killing tens of thousands more. Over the course of the last four years, the UK government has come under ever more scrutiny from the press as a result of its relationship with Saudi Arabia, especially in the context of the Yemeni conflict. For example, The Guardian has as one headline, ‘Selling arms to the Saudis was always immoral. Now it is unlawful, too’ (The Guardian, 20 June 2019). In this paper I demonstrate that the UK/Saudi Arabia relationship is deserving of further attention, especially with regard to its discursive construction in the UK media. Focusing on arms sales, I examine representations of this relationship across a range of media outlets (left and right wing, broadsheet and tabloid) in recent times, asking what work is performed by these constructions. Preliminary analysis of the data shows that these news articles either construct the UK as either participating in rational economic endeavours, or portray the UK government as acting against the nation’s natural sense of behaving in a “civilised” fashion in selling arms to a “barbaric”, Orientalised Other. I finish by investigating the practices made im/possible by these constructions, especially within foreign policy.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Depositing User: Nat Jester
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2021 11:52
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:24

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