This article examines perceptions of British-Muslims deployed by “print media public intellectuals” (PMPI). It argues that PMPI embody a particular type of “mediatized intellectual” whose public discourse on Muslims is crucial in determining how issues emerging from the politics of multiculturalism are understood. Adopting a “theory of argumentation” (Richardson, 2001) derived from a critical discourse analysis methodology (CDA), it investigates the political content of messages disseminated by (1) conservative nationalist and (2) secular liberal PMPI through their newspaper opinion columns. The findings suggest that PMPI argumentation ranges from an overt hostility to a qualified discrimination (the former through exclusive accounts of belonging and the latter through a combative/civilising liberalism), and that—moreover—there is a convergence between these two positions in their anti-Muslim sentiment and desire to regulate the lives of ethnic Others (Hage, 1998). There are four parts to this article: the first part outlines what a public intellectual is and where PMPI stand in relation to this; the second part discusses some Muslim attempts to elicit forms of recognition from the state under a rubric of multiculturalism; the third part outlines the chosen CDA schema of analyses and PMPI output; and the fourth part concludes by encouraging us to recognise and examine further the importance of PMPI argumentation in public discourse.
- discourse analysis
- public intellectuals