Rayya Aljarallah PhD Defense: 'A Comparative Critical Discourse Analysis of Twitter Posts of the Saudi Royal Decree of Women Driving: A Corpus Assisted Discourse Analysis'

Committee:  Karen Adams (chair), Aya Matsuda, Elly van Gelderen.  ::  ABSTRACT: The dynamic and rich expressions in social media such as Twitter are regarded as instigators of social change.  The tweets from the debates on the Saudi royal decree granting women the right to drive in Saudi Arabia provide a platform for examining the public’s role in shaping national ideologies and societal changes.  These tweets are subjected to Corpus-Assisted Discourse Studies, guided by the theories of Critical Discourse Analysis. Twitter’s Application Programming Interface, Hashtag selection, and Sketch Engine, is utilized to analyze a corpus comprising of 6,000 tweets from the supporters and opponents of the royal decree on women driving. The corpus includes tweets posted when the ban lifted in September 2017 and when the decree took effect in June 2018.  The researcher further supplemented the computer processing of text with manual examination.  The outcomes revealed discursive strategies and themes of opponents and supporters discourse. The Findings show that the anticipated negative and positive outcomes from the decree are used to justify the tweeters positions.  Furthermore, the analysis shows that while the conservative oppositions’ pleas are from a protectionist stance, the supporters’ excitements are from the initiation of societal change that will advance the welfare of women. The major two themes of the anti-decree tweeters are (a) disappointment of the decree through supplication and (b) negation of visible presence of woman drivers. On the other hand, the major two themes of the pro-decree tweeters are a) analogy comparisons and b) celebrations The findings further indicate the classification of  tweeters to an in-group and out-group membership which justifies the referential and predicational strategies used by tweeters.

This is a virtual event: https://asu.zoom.us/j/83300024108

Sheila Luna
Friday, Apr. 2, 2021, 9 a.m.

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