Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Applied Linguistics

First Advisor

Fuller, Janet

Second Advisor

Halliday, Laura


This paper uses theoretical frameworks from Critical Discourse Analysis to analyze articles from a South Korean English-print newspaper (the Korea Times), one humanitarian group's website (Liberty in North Korea), and an article in The Economist as examples of the two major discursive styles of representation(s) of North Korea and its people. In mapping the two major representations of North Korea and its people: 1) as "defectors" and 2) as "refugees," I examine the discursive themes employed in each of the three texts. I conclude by describing some of the implications of a discourse of defection and suggest that for future interactions with North Korea to be mutually fruitful, major English media sources must re-examine the terminology used and how it charges North Koreans with a political incentive that belies the underlying reasons for their displacement. Alternative representations and conceptions of North Korea should look to its people in order to see how they are representing themselves. In addition, international diplomacy and news media should learn about the history of relations between North and South Korea since the end of the Korean War in order to develop a culturally contextual representation of North Korea.




This thesis is Open Access and may be downloaded by anyone.