Discursive Construction of Islamophobia in Anti-Minaret Referendum Posters in Switzerland

Cebi M. S.

BILIG, no.73, pp.99-140, 2015 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: Issue: 73
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Title of Journal : BILIG
  • Page Numbers: pp.99-140


In this study, the discursive construction of ideological meanings related to Islamophobia used in propaganda posters by political actors of anti-minaret discourse during the political campaign before a nationwide minaret referendum on 29 November 2009 in Switzerland, has been analyzed. The roots, nature and components of ideological meanings about Islamophobia constructed in the discourse of anti-minaret political posters have been determined as the main research question of the study. This study aims to reveal discursive tools, strategies and practices conveying ideological meanings about Islamophobia rooted in the text and discourse of the aforementioned propaganda posters. For this purpose the figurative, implicit and connotative meanings of ideological expressions of othering, excluding and discriminating Islam anchored in the discourse of anti-minaret propaganda posters, which aim to persuade voters to vote for the ban on minarets by fear, threat, warning, advice, suggestion, manipulation and negotiation, have been analyzed. This research is conducted with a qualitative research design and with a descriptive and critical perspective based on critical and cultural approaches. The analysis methods of the study are the "semiotic analysis model" of Roland Barthes and the "ideological discourse analysis" of Teun Van Dijk. The study has revealed that ideological meanings of Islamophobia, constructed in the text and discourse of anti-minaret propaganda posters are based on three main perceptions of Islam which reflect both negative opinions, beliefs, prejudices and stereotypes about Islam shared in the collective consciousness and negative archetypes in relation to Islam hidden in the collective unconscious of the Swiss society: 1. The perception of Islam as a theological rival, threat and challenge against Christianity. 2. The perception of Islam as a political rival, threat and challenge against Switzerland. 3. The perception of Islam as a social and cultural rival, threat and challenge against Switzerland.