Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number2.  June 2022                                 Pp.123-139

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Deception Strategies in the Discourse of American Think Tanks: An Argumentative-
Pragmatic Analysis

Ali Al-juboori
Department of English, College of Languages
University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
Corresponding Author:

Sabah S. Mustafa
Department of English, College of Languages
University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq


Received: 1/21/2022                      Accepted: 4/3/2022                          Published: 6/24/2022


Deception is a misrepresentation of reality that attracted many researchers examining it from various perspectives. However, no due attention has been given to the discursive deception strategies in the work of think tanks. This study aims at exposing the deception strategies deployed in the conservative American think tanks’ discourse which concern itself with the (re)production of socio-political realities. The study holds the significance of the detection and explication of argumentative and pragmatic discursive deception strategies which impose ideological hegemony and socio-political polarization of the positively presented Self against the negatively presented Other. This study attempts to answer a twofold question: what are the discursive deception strategies involved in the work of think tanks, and why/how these strategies are applied? To this end, eight political texts from three think tanks were analyzed adopting an eclectic model based on van Dijk (2000) and Yule (1996). The analyzed data mainly focuses on four political themes namely (1) terrorism in Islam, (2) Russian role in the Middle East, (3) the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, (4) the U.S. policy in the Middle East. The results demonstrate the pervasiveness of discursive deception strategies in the think tanks’ discourse which endeavor to communicate an ideological polarization of a positive presentation of the Self against a negative presentation of the Other and reinforce a hegemony of particular socio-political realities. Findings can be beneficial for students of (critical) discourse analysis, media, communications studies, and  English for special purposes.
Keywords: Critical discourse analysis, deception, ideology, political discourse, think tanks

Cite as:  Al-juboori, A., & Mustafa, S. S. (2022). Deception Strategies in the Discourse of American Think Tanks: An Argumentative-Pragmatic Analysis. Arab World English Journal, 13 (2) 123-139.


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Received: 1/21/2022  
Accepted: 4/3/2022
Published: 6/24/2022 

Ali Al-juboori is an M. A. candidate in the Department of English, University of Baghdad, College of Languages. His areas of interest are discourse analysis and psycholinguistics, and Universal Grammar. ORCid:

Dr. Sabah S. Mustafa is a professor of Linguistics and Translation in the Department of English, University of Baghdad, College of Languages in which he has been teaching English since 1987. He has published several articles in the area of Linguistics and Translation. His research interests are contrastive linguistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and discourse analysis. He is currently Editor-in-chief of the Journal of Languages. ORCid: