Sexual harassment discourse in Egypt : a sociolinguistic analysis




Anderson, Kristine Ellen

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In recent years, the issue of sexual harassment in Egyptian society has attracted a significant amount of media attention in the form of newspaper articles, academic studies, television discussion programs, social media campaigns, and blog posts. In this thesis, I examine the language used in samples taken from television discussion programs and videoblogs in which Arabic speakers directly address the topic of sexual harassment, which I term sexual harassment discourse. I analyze the linguistic characteristics of this discourse, with the aim of discovering how speakers make use of various linguistic tools to achieve a targeted reaction or desired response in their audience. I will demonstrate how these tools allow speakers to both achieve an emotional connection with their audience, which I term empathy, or to place themselves within a power hierarchy, which I term legitimacy. Ultimately, I will show that sexual harassment discourse is indicative of an emergent and innovative new kind of public discourse in Egypt.



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