Representation of Elderly Thai People Through Linguistic Devices in Thai Newspapers
Keywords:representation, elderly, critical discourse analysis, media discourse
The elderly have been the subject of academic studies in many fields since Thailand became an aging society. This study aims to examine the representation of elderly Thai people through linguistic devices using critical discourse analysis. The data were collected from news headlines, articles, columns, and other writings in the Thairath and Daily News newspapers in 2013. The notions of social actor and transitivity were adopted to analyze the texts. The findings show two different aspects of elderly representation in Thai newspapers. On the one hand, elderly Thai people are represented as dependent and needing care, having deteriorating health, and becoming the country’s problem or burden. On the other hand, Thai elderly people are also represented as competent and respectable. Yet, the elderly are mostly represented negatively as society’s burden. Such stereotypical emphasis could lead to a discourse of fear or denial against aging in Thai society and might distort the elderly’s perception of themselves and the society’s thoughts and perceptions toward the elderly and how to treat them.
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