American University
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The Crystallization of a Moral Panic: A Content Analysis of Anglophone Canadian Print Media Discourse on Arabs and Muslims Pre- and Post-9/11

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posted on 2023-09-07, 05:02 authored by Helen R. McClure

This study examines the effects of the September 11, 2001 (9/11) attacks on Anglophone Canada, specifically its print media, and how that media can be used as both a window into and a mirror of societal trends. This study uses content analysis to look for evidence of a terrorism “moral panic” with Arab/Muslim “folk devils.” The data is analyzed using keyword word counts as well as a modified Critical Discourse Analysis to examine discourse strands before and after 9/11. This study finds that Anglophone Canadian print media discourse shifted after 9/11, indicating a terrorism moral panic with racialized Arabs/Muslims as folk devils. This moral panic and the attendant folk devils, as well as the trends in the data, are strikingly similar to their American counterparts, leading to the conclusion that Anglophone Canadian print media were influenced by American print media, most likely due both to American media's prominent international position and Anglophone Canada's ongoing internal struggle between recognizing its similarities with and declaring its differences from the United States.



American University


Degree awarded: Ph.D. School of International Service. American University


Degree grantor

American University. School of International Service

Degree level

  • Doctoral

Submission ID