Date of Award
Master of Arts
David S Allen
Elana Levine, Lia Wolock
Arab and Muslim, Framing, Media, Othering, Representation, Television
Over the past decade Arab and Muslim representations in the media have been either negative or overly simplified as a way to avoid criticism from watchdog groups. Arab and Muslim culture is viewed by the mainstream Western perspective as different, and inferior. According to Edward Said this divide and hierarchy between Eastern and Western comes through the process of Othering and is at the heart of Orientalism. This thesis investigates how Arabs and Muslims are Othered through a case study of the successful BBC television series Bodyguard.
Bodyguard presents the British government and police force attempting to stop various terrorist attacks in London by Arab Muslims. I analyze the representation of the four Muslim males and one female on the show in juxtaposition with the lead character of Sargent David Budd. Here, Budd is presented as the "white savior" in that he is trying to save the subservient, obedient Muslim wife of the terrorist (Nadia). I also heavily focus on the analysis of Nadia's character and highlight how she is "Othered" in different stages of her character development. Her Othering starts by representing her as passive, obedient, wears the hijab, and mostly silent, and ends with her being diabolical and evil. This representation, which I identify as the Duplicitous Arab or Muslim, may implicitly or explicitly present the idea that even when Arabs and Muslims seem trustworthy they are not.
Khairy, Safa K., "“Where Are We Now?” The Image Construction of Arabs and Muslims in Bodyguard" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 2536.