Victimhood and agency in newspaper reports of same-sex marriage

Journal article

with Georgina Turner, Sara Mills, Isabelle van der Bom, Laura Coffey-Glover and Laura L. Paterson (under review) Opposition as victimhood in media debates about same-sex marriage. Discourse and Society.

A summary of this paper can be found via the Discourses of Marriage Research Group blog.

In this paper, we take a queer linguistics approach to the analysis of data from British newspaper articles which discuss the introduction of same-sex marriage. Drawing on methods from critical discourse analysis and corpus linguistics, we focus on the construction of agency in relation to: marriage; the government extending marriage to same-sex couples; those resisting this. We show that opponents to same-sex marriage are represented as victims whose moral values, traditions, and civil liberties are being threatened by a ‘politically correct’ minority. Specifically, we argue that victimhood is invoked in a way that both enables and permits discourses of implicit homophobia.

This work emerges from the Discourses of Marriage Research Group.

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