Functionalisation, identification and appraisement

Table 2.30 shows that the Chinese actors are categorised the most frequently (at 65%), followed by the West at 5%. By contrast, the United States, Germany, Europe, Japan, world, and Africa are represented at a frequency of 0% each. Specifically, the Chinese actors are the only participants appraised (30%); they are functionalised and identified at a rate of 10% and 20%, respectively. The American and the Western actors are identified and functionalised at rates of 10% and 5%, respectively.

The functionalisation of the Chinese actors, as ‘investors’ (G10C), ‘helper’ (G17C), ‘saviour’ (G20C), can be realised from the construction between a noun and a suffix; for instance, the noun ‘investor’ is comprised of the noun ‘invest’ and the suffix ‘-or’. This has the effect of highlighting the role of the Chinese actors vis-a-vis the others. This way, Der Spiegel can highlight the role of the Chinese actors vis-a-vis the others, i.e. the Chinese are depicted to be investing and providing the Germans with jobs (G10C) and to be rescuing the euro (G20C) in Europe; but when it comes to Africa, the Chinese are

Representational category: functionalisation r.v identification vs appraisement

Social actors

Chinese

Non-Chinese

China

US

Germany

Europe

Japan

West

World

Africa

1 Functionalisation

No.

3

0

0

0

0

0

0

%

15

0

0

0

0

5

0

0

2 Identification

No.

4

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

%

20

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

3 Appraisement

No.

6

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

%

30

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

portrayed to be providing Africa with help with an intense and selfish desire for power and wealth (G17C).

  • 1. Chinese investors in Germany: ‘Main thing, we have jobs’ G10C
  • 2. Politics: China’s role in Africa: Onslaught of the greedy helper G17C
  • 3. Debt crisis: China presents itself as the euro’s saviour G20C

In contrast to functionalisation, the Chinese actors are identified through the use of nouns that describe who they inexorably are: a state-run economy (G4C) that manufactures a large quantity of goods for exports to the world (G8C). China is also portrayed as a place where innovation and experimentation play an important role in the society (G5C). Nevertheless, the country is still depicted as a hostile nation - presumably to Germany since the target readership of the Der Spiegel are German - through the use of the noun ‘enemy’ to denote China. This has the effect of distancing the German readers from the Chinese social actors.

  • 1. China’s u-turn: Beijing forces the return of the state economy G4C
  • 2. China: Laboratory of the future G5C
  • 3. Strikes in China: Uprising in the world’s factory G8C
  • 4. China: beloved enemy G12C

The Chinese actors are also largely appraised negatively through the use of evaluative adjectives, ‘unquenchable’ (G15C) and ‘greedy’ (G17C), which conjure up an image of a China that is highly driven by its intense and selfish desire for wealth and power when it comes to expanding globally. The negative appraisement of the Chinese actors continues to transpire through the depiction of its inexpensive exports (G3C) - unfair trading practices - to the United States. When it comes to China’s growth model, a more positive appraisement transpires through the lexical choice ‘laboratory of the future’

  • (G5C), which paints an image of a place where new ideas and experimentation take place. However, G12C takes on a more ambivalent tone through the use of the adjective ‘beloved’ to modify the noun ‘enemy’, resulting in the semantic meaning ‘a hostile nation that is very much loved’. Here are the appraisement examples:
    • 1. Cheap exports: US Congress wants to punish China for its G3C

currency policy

  • 2. China’s u-turn: Beijing forces the return of the state economy G4C
  • 3. China: Laboratory of the future G5C
  • 4. China: beloved enemy G12C
  • 5. State-owned enterprises on a shopping spree: China’s G15C

unquenchable hunger for takeover

6. Politics: China’s role in Africa: Onslaught of the greedy helper G17C

The positive representation of the non-Chinese social actors can be seen through the strategy of functionalisation, which puts an emphasis on uncovering their identity through their function in the society (i.e. the occupations and roles) instead of merely revealing who they, more or less permanently, are. This way, Der Spiegel can reveal the socio-economic status of the non-Chinese social actors, who are depicted to enjoy higher levels of education and income, by referencing the highly skilled jobs they are engaged in, such as professor (G10C) and managers (G13C). In addition, the inclusion of descriptive adjectives, such as Harvard and foreign, provide more information about the nouns that they modify, underlining the point that those at the upper echelon of the society and the job market are not Chinese. Such a categorisation reinforces the impression that China needs external expertise to prop up its economy, which would otherwise be doomed to collapse. For instance:

1. Overheated property market: Harvard professor sees signs of a G10C

China crash

2. Job campaign: China looks for foreign managers G13C

 
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