Shaping social and political identity : A critical discourse anlysis of the Bharatiya Janta Party

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Teologiska institutionen

Abstract: This research paper uses Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to analyse texts produced by the political party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India. The analysis use Machin and Mayr’s (2012) concepts of Language and Identity and Nominalisation and Presupposition with the aim to understand how the BJP can influence the democratic society in India through discourse. The texts analysed was taken from BJPs website and from parts of their 2014 manifesto. The theoretical framework and literature review are built on the role of Hinduism in the democratization of India. In this research, Hinduism act as an important factor in defining identity in India and Hindutva as an important factor in defining identity for the BJP. The analysis concludes that when looking at identity, the BJP demonstrate that their texts can have both a positive and a negative effect on the democracy in India. The BJP strongly use ‘India First’ to state that they want to unify the country under one identity and similarities can be drawn to their previous use of ‘Hindutva’. By promoting ‘India First’ the BJP includes a large audience and a somewhat tolerant outlook by stating to include all castes and ethnicities. However, the analysis demonstrates that their strong promotion of ‘India First’ conceal who is responsible to uphold this identity and that in turn could affect the tolerance in society. The analysis also shows that their definition of ‘India First’ is left vague and this can conceal certain interest. Their use of ‘India First’ as an identity can lead to a fear that everything that does not belong under this category is a threat. This combined with the diffuse definition of what ‘India First’ mean can have a negative effect on the pluralistic and tolerant society that was needed for India to transform to a democracy. The research also explores whether the strong promotion of ‘India First’ can be compared to a religious or spiritual movement and touch upon the implications that could follow from that.

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