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Media Portrayals of Jews Today: Representation and Antisemitism


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This dissertation is concerned with present-day representations of Jews, with a focus on mainstream media. Research objectives are two-fold: first, to examine the ways Jews are constructed as Other in (1) traditional, offline mainstream media, (2) online environments, specifically in (a) comment fields under news content, and (b) SNS, and (3) offline group discussions with young people; second, to explore the relationship between the consumption of news and information through different channels and attitudes towards Jews in adolescents. This research builds on Social Identity Theory and Social Representations Theory, and insights from the literature on media representations of ethnic minorities, antisemitism, and hate speech. It employs a multi-method approach, including quantitative and qualitative content analysis, discourse analysis, text mining, and survey methods. The research questions are addressed in five studies: (1) a longitudinal (2006-2016), quantitative content analysis of the television news coverage of the Jewish minority in Belgium; (2) a semantic network analysis of the word "jew" in online reader comments under news content shared on the Facebook page of a leading Flemish news outlet; (3) a qualitative content analysis and co-occurrence network analysis of Instagram posts annotated with the hashtags #jew, #jewish, and #jews; (4) a cross-sectional survey study into the relationship between news consumption through different channels and attitudes towards Jews in adolescents; (5) a focus group study into perceptions and representations of Jews among non-Jewish youth. Findings point to substantial differences in representations of Jews between news media discourse on the one hand, and the "general public" on the other. Furthermore, attitudes towards Jews in adolescents are predicted by education and religious affiliation, rather than news consumption.



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Link to record in university repository, Media Portrayals of Jews Today: Representation and Antisemitism

Bibliographic Information

Ichau, Elke Media Portrayals of Jews Today: Representation and Antisemitism. KU Leuven. 2021:  https://archive.jpr.org.uk/object-2726