The Representation of Social Actors in the Graduate Employability Issue: Online News and the Government Document

Document Type: Research Paper

Author

Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia, Malaysia

Abstract

This paper presents the first part of a larger study on the issue of graduate employability in Malaysia as construed in public discourse in English, a language of power in Malaysia. The term employability itself has many definitions depending on the requirements of government and industry, and in the case of Malaysia, the English-language ability of graduates is inseparable from graduate employability. Data were collected from three socially significant English-language publications: a mainstream newspaper, an alternative newspaper, and a government document outlining the national approach to improving graduate employability in universities. The data were collected between 2012 and 2013, a significant two-year period of time due to the publication of the Graduate Employability Blueprint in 2012, and the five-yearly Malaysian General Election in 2013. Applying Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA), the study also employs Transitivity Analysis (TA) from Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). The analysis looks at the grammatical roles and evaluation of important social actor groups in the graduate employability issue.

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