Addicted to Talk: Newspaper representation of the female speaking subject

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University of Nottingham
The study presented here aims to contribute to current understandings of the ways in which print and online news media are implicated in sustaining dominant gender and language ideologies (Cameron 2003) and the discourses in which these are realized, while marginalizing others. To this end, the study interrogates an archive of newspaper articles gathered over a 32 month period between 2006 and 2008, in which language and gender discourses are implicitly or explicitly invoked. Taking an innovative mixed-methodological approach, the study combines quantitative and qualitative analyses, the former seeking to identify those assumptions about gender and talk that are most frequently observed in the dataset, the latter providing some insight into the linguistic and discursive mechanisms implicated both in generating and maintaining dominant gender discourses, and in the discursive construction of women and men as speaking subjects. The qualitative component is itself multimodal, comprising firstly an intertextual analysis of media representations of talk attributed to gendered voices, and secondly a consideration of the transitivity choices evident in the texts examined. Analysis draws on the work of Foucault and developments in critical discourse analysis in considering the significance of the representational practices observed as both ideological and discursive phenomena. Finally, the study considers the import of such practices as a form of surveillance that is targeted specifically at women, and that serves ultimately to legitimate and sustain conditions of patriarchy.
language and gender, newspapers, panopticon
Working with English: medieval and modern language, literature and drama, 2011, 7