Exoticism, criticism and appropriation : framing of Muslims in the French and Dutch interwar press
Title: Exoticism, criticism and appropriation : framing of Muslims in the French and Dutch interwar press
Author: DOCTER, Koen
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2018
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
In the interwar period, the popular newspapers of the European colonial powers discussed a wide range of Islam-related issues. Yet while their representations have influenced the perception of Muslims up until the present day, the interwar press discourse has remained remarkably under-studied. This thesis tries to fill that gap and draws attention to the diversity of newspaper repre-sentations: How did popular European newspapers frame Muslims in the 1920s and 1930s? Which frames were used for different Muslim-related topics? And to what extent did national contexts matter in this regard? To answer these questions, I examine the French and Dutch newspaper framing of three key themes: mosques, the pilgrimage to Mecca and the position of Muslim women. France and the Nether-lands both had colonial empires with a large number of Muslim subjects, yet adopted different approaches for dealing with religion and colonialism. A quantitative content analysis of over 1,400 articles is used to systematically identify the news frames. I then zoom in on individual arti-cles to understand the social, cultural, political and historical context in which the texts were pro-duced. This thesis shows that the interwar newspaper discourse was rich and complicated. Seem-ingly contradictory representations of Muslims co-existed throughout the 1920s and 1930s. French and Dutch representations reflected the national contexts in which they were produced. Yet despite some notable differences, the French and Dutch press largely framed Muslims in similar ways, which suggests the existence of a European discourse that transcended national boundaries. This thesis puts forward three imperialist discursive strategies that dominated the interwar press discourse on Muslims: exoticism, criticism and appropriation. These discursive strategies often seemed contradictory at the surface and led to very different arguments. Howev-er, all three of them offered substantial support for the civilising mission and, consequently, the continuation of European imperialist rule over Muslim societies.
Defence date: 29 January 2018; Examining Board: Prof. Laura Lee Downs, European University Institute; Prof. Ann Thomson, European University Institute; Prof. Jane Chapman, University of Lincoln; Prof. Amr Ryad, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Type of Access: embargoedAccess