Archive

Publications

Collins, Luke and Lucy Jones (in press) External points of view in the PrEPUK News Corpus. Journal of Corpora and Discourse Studies 4:108–134.

Link to manuscript (Open Access)

This work examines the use of reported external points of view (EPVs), with a focus on quotations, in a corpus of U.K. news coverage of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Forms of external attribution have been shown to be a prominent feature of news discourse (e.g., Juillan, 2011; Semino and Short, 2004) and this has implications for public understanding of health issues. In the case of PrEP, the polarised views found in news coverage (Jaspal and Nerlich, 2017) have implications for the wider support and uptake of the treatment. We report the findings of a corpus-assisted study of quotation, outlining patterns in the prevalence and distribution of quotes across the corpus according to frequently-cited sources and reporting verbs. Drawing on the Appraisal framework (White, 2012), we then provide a closer analysis of three articles covering the same news event to discuss the broader integration of external points of view and the ways in which journalists indicate their dialogistic association with the views they report. We find that forms of speech presentation in quotations are relatively uniform, with journalists favouring — in particular — forms of the reporting verb say, or declining to use a reporting expression at all. This reflects a broader practice in which dialogistic association with quotations is largely unmarked. We find that journalists rely on the content of quotations for inscribed attitude, yet still invoke attitudes towards EPVs through the labelling of their sources, the reporting verbs they use and through the inclusion and positioning of EPVs in the article.

Zottola, Angela, Lucy Jones, Alison Pilnick, Louise Mullany, Walter Pierre Bouman and Jon Arcelus (2021) Identifying coping strategies used by patients at a transgender health clinic through analysis of free text autobiographical narratives. Health Expectations 24(2): 719-727

Link to manuscript

This paper presents an analysis of 32 narratives written by patients waiting for assessment at a gender identity clinic in England. The narratives are autobiographical free texts, designed to allow patients to describe in their own words their experiences of their gender identity and/or transition prior to a clinic appointment, as part of the assessment process. We analysed the narratives using corpus linguistic methodology and discourse analysis in order to identify actions that prospective patients had taken to manage their (usually extremely lengthy) waiting times, so that these ‘coping strategies’ could be shared with future patients. We find that there are broad commonalities in the way the transition experience is described across the corpus in terms of presentation of key experiences and feelings, with specific descriptions of a number of recurring coping strategies, both positive and negative. We argue that this suggests that patients may feel they have to present their experiences in certain ways to be accepted for treatment. However, we also argue that the dissemination of the positive coping strategies described in our corpus may help future clients of gender identity clinics to better cope with waiting times, as well as assisting practitioners in supporting their patients during this wait.

Journal article

Jones, Lucy (2021) ‘Queer linguistics and identity: The past decade’ Journal of Language and Sexuality 10(1), 13-24

Link to manuscript

In this short essay, written as part of a ten-year anniversary special issue of Journal of Language and Sexuality, I offer some reflections on language and sexuality work over the past decade. My discussion is focused on the increasing influence of queer theory, in particular, and I comment on trends in research into language and queer identities. I take into account not only the work published in the Journal of Language and Sexuality and beyond, but also that presented over the past decade at the annual Lavender Languages and Linguistics conference.

Journal article

Jones, Lucy and Collins, Luke (2020) PrEP in the press: A corpus-assisted discourse analysis of how users of HIV-prevention treatment are represented in British newspapers. Journal of Language and Sexuality. 9(2), 202-25

Link to manuscript

This research reports on newspaper representations of PrEP, a HIV-prevention drug recently made available on a trial basis to at-risk individuals in England. Using corpus-assisted queer critical discourse analysis, we investigate the linguistic representations of the users of PrEP within three leading British newspapers from across the political spectrum between 2014-18. We find that users of PrEP are most frequently positioned as ‘men who have sex with men’ or ‘gay men’, a representation that we argue limits public awareness of HIV itself, and of available HIV prevention. Furthermore, while the most left-leaning newspaper in our corpus focuses on the human benefit of PrEP, the most right-leaning newspaper takes a moralistic stance which frames gay men as risk-taking and therefore less deserving of healthcare funding than other groups. We therefore argue that certain representations of PrEP’s beneficiaries are implicitly homophobic, and that most representations are unhelpfully restrictive.

Journal article

Jones, Lucy (2020) Subverting transphobia and challenging ignorance: The interactive construction of resistant identity in a community of practice of transgender youth. Journal of Language and Discrimination. 4(2): 149-171

Link to manuscript

In this paper, I present two moments of interaction emerging from a focus group between young people who are members of a community of practice: a support group for transgender youth and their parents. Using discourse analysis, I demonstrate how the young people work collaboratively to construct a mutual identity which foregrounds their shared experience of transgender issues and minimises differences between them. I argue that they do this to actively challenge and resist the discrimination they experience due to transphobia and ignorance, which includes attempts to ‘other’ them. I show how the young people ascribe themselves agency by subverting the heteronormative ideologies which inform this othering, thus constructing an active, resistant, and validated mutual identity rather than a victimised, submissive, or othered one. This identity work tells us much about the hugely important role played by support groups in helping young people to construct a positive persona in the face of transphobic discrimination.

Journal article

Jones, Lucy (2020) ‘The fact they knew before I did upset me most’: Essentialism and normativity in lesbian and gay youths’ coming out stories. Sexualities. 23(4): 497-515

Link to manuscript

This article demonstrates, via discourse analysis of a group of young gay and lesbian people’s coming out stories, the salience of essentialist ideologies on their identity construction. The study reveals underlying normative assumptions in the young people’s narratives, including those associated with binary gender and innate sexual desire, which they employ in order to construct a culturally authentic sexual identity. Through close sociolinguistic analysis of interactions, it is shown how identity construction is directly influenced by broader ideologies. The analysis provides evidence of the continued prevalence of heteronormativity and homonormativity as key influences in young queer people’s identity work.

Journal article

Jones, Lucy (2019) Discourses of transnormativity in vloggers’ identity construction. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 256(2): 85-101

Link to manuscript

This paper investigates the construction of two transgender vlogger personas, providing insight into the prevalence of normative discourses which may be drawn on when constructing transgender identities. Many transgender people around the world rely on the internet as a source of information and guidance; online video diaries (‘vlogs’), in which young people record and chart their experiences of transition, play a particularly important role. In this paper, discourse from two popular transgender vloggers is critically analysed. It is found that the vloggers index identities which are broadly in line with what Zimman (2012) terms the archetypal ‘true transsexual’, an ideological model of what it means to be ‘authentically’ transgender. This corresponds with heteronormative, essentialist expectations of binary gender. The vloggers are shown to authenticate their own experiences by stating what is ‘typical’ and positioning themselves as ‘experts’. Ultimately, it is argued that the version of transgender identity and experience that they put forwards reproduces prevalent discourses of normative gender and sexuality.

Book chapter

Jones, Lucy (2019) Lesbian Identity Construction. In Kira Hall & Rusty Barrett (Eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Language and Sexuality. Oxford University Press

Link to manuscript

This chapter considers the relevance of cultural discourses to speakers’ indexing of recognizable ‘lesbian’ identities. It begins with a discussion of the ideological discourses that lesbian women have been found to draw upon in their interactions, explaining key aspects of lesbian culture and experience. It then provides a survey of linguistic research into lesbian discourse, offering an account of the mostly Western studies conducted to date. A critical discussion of the prevalence of ‘butch’ and ‘femme’ identities is provided, with the inclusion of data from the author’s ethnographic fieldwork with a lesbian community of practice. The chapter demonstrates that these normative notions carry symbolic value in the construction of some lesbian identities, but also argues – through an account of studies looking at same-sex identified women who identify with categories other than lesbian – for research that looks beyond the white, middle-class, western women who so far dominate work in this area.

Journal article

Jones, Lucy (2018) “I’m not proud, I’m just gay”: Lesbian and gay youths’ discursive negotiation of otherness. Journal of Sociolinguistics 22(1)

Link to manuscript

This article outlines the shared identity construction of five gay and lesbian members of an LGBT youth group, situated in a conservative, working-class, Northern English town. It is shown that the young people’s identity work emerges in response to the homophobia and ‘othering’ they have experienced from those in their local community. Through ethnography and discourse analysis, and using theoretical frameworks from interactional sociolinguistics, the strategies that the young people employ to negotiate this othering are explored; they reject certain stereotypes of queer culture (such as Gay Pride or being ‘camp’), and aim to minimise the relevance of their sexuality to their social identity. It is argued this reflects both the influence of neoliberal, ‘homonormative’ ideology, which casts sexuality in the private rather than public domain, and the stigma their sexuality holds in their local community. These findings point to the need to understand identity construction intersectionally.

Journal article

with Georgina Turner, Sara Mills, Isabelle van der Bom, Laura Coffey-Glover and Laura L. Paterson (2017) Opposition as victimhood in media debates about same-sex marriage. Discourse and Society. 29(2).

Link to manuscript

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 that discuss the introduction of same-sex marriage. Drawing on methods from CDA and corpus linguistics, we focus on the construction of agency in relation to the government extending marriage to same-sex couples, and those resisting this. We show that opponents to same-sex marriage are represented and represent themselves as victims whose moral values, traditions, and civil liberties are being threatened by the state. 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.