Lutgard Lams

Prof. at Faculty of Arts
KU Leuven Campus Brussels 

Research Interests

The central question within my research deals with the dynamics of language and ideology in the discursive construction of reality and is thus situated within the theoretical and methodological approaches of Language Pragmatics, Discourse Theory and Ideology Critique. 

Special attention goes to (more or less essentialist and/or hegemonic) identity construction, nationalism and myth-building in historiography. The discursive practice of Othering is examined in Eastern as well as Western perspectives of the Self and the Other. Given my interest in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, I concentrate on framing practices of these regions in foreign news products and Chinese/Taiwanese journalistic representations of the foreign Other and portrayals of the Self. This explains my primary focus on the English-language media in China/Taiwan, but I am equally interested in comparative research of narratives in the vernacular press and the foreign language press in China/Taiwan. Besides regional comparisons of representational practices in the media, I also examine continuities and changes in official discourses against the backdrop of globalization and democratization processes in that region. 

Engaging in media text analysis presupposes an interdisciplinary investigation into media interpretation and production processes, global information flows, the wider political and sociocultural context within which the news workers operate, as well as the changing (regional and global) media landscape. The research thus covers domains such as Linguistics (Pragmatics, Discourse analysis), Communication Science and Journalism (Media studies, Press freedom), Sinology (China/Taiwan political discourse, media landscape), Political Science (China/Taiwan.US/Europe relations), Sociology and Cultural Studies (Identity studies, nationalism, ideology critique). 

Case studies and longitudinal projects:
-Ideology and language in the Taiwanese / Chinese English-language media (e.g. constructions of identity / 
   nationalism / myth-building / Othering)
· Discursive strategies in Taiwanese presidential discourse since 2000
· Discursive strategies in Taiwanese presidential election campaigning
· Strategic narratives in official Chinese discourse under President Xi Jinping
· Discursive characteristics of totalitarian/authoritarian discourses
· European perspectives of Taiwan/China: a discourse analytical study of EU-official documents and media 
   accounts of the cross-Strait issue and on EU-Taiwan trade relations
Longitudinal discourse analysis of Dutch- and French-language press representations of China (2008- )
· Belgian press representations of Tibet, Xinjiang, and Taiwan (qualitative analysis)
· International media coverage Hong Kong sovereignty transfer (1997)
· International media coverage collision US surveillance plane with Chinese jetfighter (2001)
· Comparative analysis of European press framing of immigration crisis 2015-2016 (analysis of transitivity and other discursive mechanisms)

Selected Publications (China/Taiwan related works)

Edited book/journal

·       Totalitarian/Authoritarian Discourses – a Global and Timeless Phenomenon?’, Peter Lang Publ., 2014 (co-edited with Crauwels, G. & Serban, H.A.)

·       ‘The Role of Discourse as the Interface between various Disciplines studying Chinese Society’, Universa Press, 2012 (co-authored with Liao, L.W.)

Journal article

·       “'Comrades? Russian and Chinese Media Representations of NATO' (co-written with de Smaele, H., De Coninck, F., Lippens, C., Smeyers, L), Europe-Asia Studies, 74, 2022 (in print)

  • 'Forging Unity within Diversity: a Discourse-Theoretical Approach to Nation-Building Politics in the Chinese and Taiwanese Contexts', Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 27 (1)60-78, 2021
  • 'Humorous Ambiguity and Dissimulation as Discursive Vehicles for Political and Social Critique in Chinese Society' (co-written with Zhou, W.W.L.), Versus, Quaderni di Studi Semiotici, 131 (2), 347-360, 2020
  • ‘Puppet, Comrades, and Souls in Heaven: a Critical Discourse Analysis of Chiang Kai-shek’s Early Wartime Rhetoric’, (co-authored with Lu W.L.), Journal of Current Chinese Affairs (in print), 2019
  •    ‘Issue salience and framing in the Taiwanese 2016 presidential election campaign: an analysis of the KMT and DPP campaign discourses’, International Journal of Taiwan Studies 1 (2), pp. 301-330, 2018
  •  ‘Examining strategic narratives in Chinese official discourse under Xi Jinping’, International Journal of Chinese Political Science 23 (4), pp. 387-411, 2018

·       ‘Othering in Chinese official media narratives during diplomatic standoffs with the US and Japan’, Palgrave Communications 3(33), pp. 1-11, 2017

·       China: Economic Magnet or Rival? Framing of China in the Dutch- and French-Language Elite Press in Belgium and the Netherlands’, International Communication Gazette 78 (1-2), pp. 137-156, 2016

·       ‘Tracing 'Taiwanization' Processes in Taiwanese Presidential Statements in Times of Cross-Strait Rapprochement’,  The Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 40 (1), pp. 63-98, 2011

·       Newspaper’s Narratives Based on Wire Stories: Facsimiles of Input?”,   The Journal of Pragmatics 43 (7), pp. 1853-1864, 2011

·       ‘Towards a linguistics of news production’ (co-written with Catenaccio et al.), The Journal of Pragmatics 43 (7), pp. 1843-1852, 2011

·       ‘Reconnecting theories of  language pragmatics and critiques on logocentric methodological approaches to media discourse analysis’, The Romanian Review of Political Sciences and  International Relations 7 (1), pp. 94-110, 2010

·       ‘Linguistic Tools of Empowerment and Alienation in The Chinese Official Press Accounts about the April 2001 Standoff between the US and China’, Pragmatics 20 (3), pp. 315 -342, 2010

·       ‘Involving Taiwan in the dialogue with European civil society and its public sphere: information, communication, interpretation, and interaction, (co-written with Liao, L.W.)The Taiwan International Studies Quarterly 4 (1), pp.249-258, 2008

·       ‘Media Panic or Manic: the 2004 Taiwan Parliamentary Elections in the Local English-Language Press’, The Taiwan International Studies Quarterly 4 (4), pp. 145-184, 2008

·       ‘Language and politics in the Chinese English-language newspaper The China Daily’,  The Stockholm Journal of East-Asian Studies, 15, pp.109-137, 2005


Book chapter

            ·      Narratives as Persuasive Tools in Contemporary Chinese Leadership’s Discourse' in Cheng,                 J., Lodén, T., Stünkel, L. (eds) Politics in East Asia Today: Between Democracy, Debates, and             Discourse,  Stockholm: Institute for Security & Development Policy, pp. 63- 75,                                     discourse/     (online: 14/01/2022)

  • 'From Collision to Diplomatic Compromise: ‘We are sorry’ – One Utterance, Two                 Interpretations: the Art of Apologizing in US/China Relations’ in Chiluwa, I. (ed).                     Discourse, Media and Conflict: Examining War and Resolution in the News. Cambridge:                     Cambridge University Press, pp. 300-323, 2022 (in print)
  • 'Discourse and Ideology in the Taiwanese English-language Press during KMT President Ma Ying-jeou’s Early Rule' in Shei, C. (ed.) Taiwan: Manipulation of Ideology and Struggle for Identity, Routledge Studies in Chinese Discourse Analysis, Abingdon: Routledge, 117-139, 2021 

·       ‘Ideological patterns in Chinese state media narratives concerning issues of security and sovereignty’ in Shei, C. (ed.), Routledge Handbook of Chinese Discourse Analysis, Routledge, pp. 444-457, 2019

·       ‘Agency and power in the Dutch-language news coverage of refugees’ in d’Haenens, L., Heynderickx, F. & Joris, W. (eds.), Images of Immigrants and Refugees in Western Europe: Media Representations and Public Opinion and Refugees’ Experiences, Leuven University Press, pp.66-81, 2019

·       ‘Salience and Representation of Islam and Uyghur Muslims in the Chinese Communist Party Press’ in Mertens, S.  & de Smaele, H. (eds.), Representations of Islam in the News: a Cross-Cultural Analysis, Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield (Lexington Books), pp. 205-225, 2016

·      ‘Strategies of symbolic meaning construction in Chinese official discourse’ in Lams, L., Crauwels, G. & Serban, H.A. (eds.), Totalitarian/Authoritarian Discourses – a Global and Timeless Phenomenon? Bern: Peter Lang Publishers, pp. 185-217, 2014

·     ‘Representation  of  the three T’s (Tibet/Turkestan/Taiwan) in the Belgian press during the run-up to the Beijing Olympics: a comparative analysis of Dutch- and French-language narratives’,  in Mertens, S. (ed.), Perspectieven op Internationale Journalistiek, Academia Press, pp.45-64, 2013

·     ‘The Cross-Strait relations from a linguistic perspective’, in J. Damm, & P. Lim (eds.), European Perspectives of Taiwan, In Series East Asia in the 21st Century, Springer  Academic Publisher, pp.196-214, 2012

·     ‘Communication and Difference: one event – different media frames. A discursive analysis of US, Chinese and Taiwanese media narratives about the 2001 Hainan Incident’ in Hernandez, L. (ed.), China and the West: Encounters with the Other in Culture, Arts, Politics and Everyday Life. Cambridge Univ. Press, pp. 17-32, 2012

·       ‘Toward a methodological framework for the study of continuities and changes in official Chinese discourse, as disseminated in the state media’, in Lams, L. & Liao, L.W. (eds.),The Role of Discourse as the Interface between various Disciplines studying Chinese Society, Universa Press, pp. 21-30, 2012

  • ‘Introduction’, in Lams, L. & Liao, L.W. (eds.), The Role of Discourse as the Interface between Various Disciplines studying Chinese Society,  Universa Press, pp. 13-20, 2012
  • ‘Embedded identity building in Chinese/Taiwanese English-language press narratives’ in Carpentier, N., Spinoy, E. (eds.), Discourse Theory and Cultural Analysis, Media, Arts and Literature, Hampton Press, pp. 71-94, 2008
  • ‘Shifting roles of GIO in Taiwanese international propaganda affairs and domestic media control’, in Chang, B.Y., Fell, D., Klöter, H. (eds.), What has changed? Taiwan Before and After the Change in Ruling Parties (Studia Formosiana 4), Harrassowitz, pp. 243-264, 2006
  • ‘A pragmatic study into ideological investments of the ROC English-language newspapers from a diachronic perspective’, in NCYU Inquiry of Applied Linguistics, the 2006 Issue, National Chiayi University, pp. 145-172, 2006